A new effort announced April 28 aims to spur the development of free, online course content geared toward community colleges as an alternative to traditional textbooks that often are too pricey, Inside Higher Ed reports. "Community college students don’t have a lot of discretionary income, and we’re always looking at ways to cut their expenses," said Judy Baker, dean of the distance-learning program at the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. This week, dozens of professors from colleges across the country are meeting with representatives from nonprofit groups and for-profit companies that are in the digital textbook market to talk about ways of developing and promoting online content. The first phase of the "Community College Open Textbook Project" is being funded by a one-year, $500,000-plus grant to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. As part of the project, community college professors will receive training on how to find and customize material online. One objective is for participants to create online textbooks, largely culled from existing resources, in high-demand courses such as statistics…

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