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What if Napster stocked textbooks? Engineering professor Richard Baraniuk talks about his vision for Connexions, an open-source system that lets teachers share digital texts and course materials, modify them and give them to their students -- all free, thanks to Creative Commons licensing.
Rice University professor Richard Baraniuk has a giant vision: to create a free global online education system that puts the power of creation and collaboration in the hands of teachers worldwide. He's realizing that vision with Connexions, a website that allows teachers to quickly "create, rip, mix and burn" coursework -- without fear of copyright violations. Think of it as Napster for education. Connexions' open-source system cuts out the textbook, allowing teachers to share course materials, modify existing work and disseminate it to their students -- all for free, thanks to Creative Commons licensing. Baraniuk envisions Connexions as a repository where the most up-to-date material can be shared and reviewed (it's far more efficient than waiting for a textbook to be printed); it could become a powerful force in leveling the education playing field. Currently encompassing hundreds of online courses and used by a million people worldwide, Baraniuk's virtual educational system is revolutionizing the way people teach and learn.