Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sponsored Post - Paying for College

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flatworld Knowledge for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flat World Knowledge for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
We all know that a college education is expensive.  Unfortunately, all of the things that go WITH those tuition payments are pretty expensive too.  What if there was a way to save some money?  Wouldn't you do whatever you needed to?
Higher Ed demographics are shifting; almost half of students are in community colleges, and up to 80% are at public institutions. My brother falls into this - he started at Purdue (public) and is transferring to Northern Kentucky University (also public, considered by many around here a community college).  There is an increase of displaced workers returning to school. Textbook are becoming an increasingly important barrier to completion of education.
Students spent an average $1137 in 2010-2011 on textbooks and supplies, according to The College Board.  According to the Department Of Education, textbooks cost almost as much as tuition and fees (72%) for 2 year community college students. This means 42% of college costs for these students go to textbooks.  That's a lot of money!  Inflation doesn't even come into the picture, as textbook prices are rising at 4 times the inflation rate.  According to Gates Foundation study, this is having a substantive impact on students’ ability to complete coursework. 60% of students who did not graduate report that textbooks and other fees besides tuition affected them; 58% of those who did graduate cite the same (source:…).  In these tough economic times, it's no wonder people have to drop out of school.
Flat World is using technology to reduce cost barriers and increase access. Pairing open licensing and textbook personalization with a radical pricing model gives a formula for disrupting an $8.5bil U.S. textbook market. Books are free online, while offline books cost around $35 for print, and $25 for other formats. For the first time, students can choose the format and price point best for them.  How awesome to have the book available wherever you were - I would rather carry a laptop than a pile of books an day!
Flat World is going beyond leveraging technology to reduce cost and using the open license to improve learning materials in 2 critical ways
o Enabling faculty to change the textbook from a book to a platform
o Enabling the student to consume content that suits their learning style
I really like that faculty could make this interactive.  Even better is that, if you don't like looking at a computer for your textbook, the paper copies are available at a cheaper rate than traditional textbooks.
Early indicators are showing high trajectory. Since Spring 2009, Flat World’s books have been adopted by 1600+ professors in 900+ schools. That’s equal to over 115,000 students. Flat World has raised over $27mil over the last 2 years in venture capital to build a sustainable model to build open content. Further, several early pilot studies conducted by colleges using Flat World open textbooks have demonstrated significant (10-15%) increases in course completion rates where open textbooks were used vs. traditional books.
As someone who has thought about going back to school (again) I would love to have classes using this method.  It would save money, but it would also mean less things to carry around campus to be prepared for class.  Visit their site and request more info
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