Higher Ed Market Headlines

Students Lead the Way in Promoting Affordable Textbooks on Campus

Flat World Knowledge Launches Innovative Intern Program

Feb 18
 
Nyack, NY – February 18, 2010 – Flat World Knowledge, the leading commercial publisher of free and open college textbooks, today announced the launch of an innovative campus internship program that gives college students -- those most affected by skyrocketing textbook prices -- an active role in impacting the way faculty think about textbooks. 

Like its disruptive business model aimed at revolutionizing the college textbook market, Flat World is taking a counter approach to the usual adversarial relationship between textbook publishers and college students.

The company’s open publishing license and online platform enable students to access its books for free online, or purchase low-cost print-on-demand, audio and downloadable versions, and study aids at a fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks. Faculty can choose to use the books as-is or customize the content.

“Our open textbook model resolves a critical issue for students and families— the spiraling cost of textbooks,” said Eric Frank, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Flat World Knowledge. “Our campus intern program provides students with the training and skills to communicate with faculty about the growing number of alternatives to traditional textbooks, such as openly-licensed books, which reduce costs while maintaining high-quality content.”

The pilot project consists of 19 students, mostly sophomore and junior business majors, from diverse institutions, including New York University, Ohio State University, Auburn University, Indiana University, University of Denver, University of Florida and the College of Charleston.

The program offers students an opportunity to earn money, and for some, academic credit as well. Kristi Dwyer, 22, a senior majoring in management and marketing at Radford University, in VA, will earn three credits this semester by keeping a journal and writing a term paper about her hands-on marketing experience with Flat World.

“I’m having fun and learning a lot about how professors set up their curriculum and the process of choosing a textbook,” said Dwyer.  “Teachers seem sympathetic to what students are going through. Last summer, I worked as a camp counselor and most of the money I made went to buy textbooks. I spent $800 for books last semester.”

Through monthly webinars, the students receive professional sales training conducted by internationally-recognized sales management experts and Flat World authors such as Jeff Tanner (Principles of Marketing) and Kimberly Richmond (The Power of Selling).  

“The training has helped me become more comfortable and confident meeting with professors,” Dwyer said. “The program is a great learning experience and is preparing me for job interviews when I graduate next year.”

“Not only are these talented students gaining professional sales and marketing experience, but their work will make a positive difference for future students,” said Jennifer Welchans, director of the campus internship program. “Faculty benefit too by being exposed to new textbook options that provide them with more control over things like content and when to change textbook editions.

With its open textbooks that can be remixed, customized, modified, or combined with other materials, Flat World Knowledge was recently cited as being at the forefront of the open content movement, one of the top educational technology trends this year, according to “The 2010 Horizon Report,” a research project of the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative. The annual report identifies emerging technologies and trends likely to have a large impact on teaching and learning in colleges and universities. http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2010/chapters/open-content/

About Flat World Knowledge, Inc.
Founded in 2007 by senior textbook industry executives, privately-held Flat World Knowledge is a leading publisher of free, open textbooks for higher education.

More than 45,000 students in over 500 universities and colleges are learning with Flat World textbooks. Written by the world’s leading subject matter experts, Flat World books are peer reviewed, and professionally edited and developed.

Educators have the freedom to use the books as-is, or to modify them to suit their unique classroom requirements. Students can access the books for free online, or purchase low-cost print-on-demand, audio and downloadable versions, as well as a variety of study aids at a fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks.

More information about Flat World Knowledge is available at http://www.flatworldknowledge.com.