Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Developments in Open Source Textbooks: mathbook XML

Rob Beezer at University of Puget Sound is spearheading the development of MathBook XML, which is "a lightweight XML application for authors of scientific articles, textbooks and monographs."  I'm seriously considering a conversion from Mathematica Notebooks to this new format.

I spend a bit of time playing with the current version this week and converted a very small web page with a few sage cells. Then I exported to html.

It wasn't obvious to me what code should appear in the output field of the sage sections, which would be all graphics in this case.  It isn't a problem for the html version since the cells can be evaluated.  Converted to LaTeX, the lack of output is a problem, but it still looks good.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015 Economic Impact - rough estimates.

2015 Economic Impact of Applied Discrete Structures

We had a event on campus where open source textbooks were one of the featured subjects, so I took the opportunity to put together the numbers for the economic impact of Applied Discrete Structures (ADS) for the calendar year 2015.

UML Impact

It's fairly easy to identify the impact here at UML.  I counted 405 students who took the first semester of our discrete math sequence (new course numbers  MATH.3210/3220  Discrete Structures I/II). I continue to assume that the average cost of our previous text with a mix of new/used purchases would be $140.  If 90% use the pdf and save the whole amount and the rest buy the hard copy of ADS.  That translates to a savings of about $55,000 for UML students in 2015.

Outside Impact

The impact on students outside of UML is tougher to estimate.  I know of 14 adoptions in 2015, but have no idea how many more there were.  Working from just what I know, and assuming 25 students per adoptions with the same assumptions about the alternate book and hard copy usage, I come up with around $47,000.


Combining these two amounts, I'm confident we've saved students over $100,000 in 2015.  If you used ADS and are not on the adoption list,  please let me know so that I can update my estimate.