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Global Text or the Global Text Project (GTP) is an emerging organisation dedicated to the assembly of free information material and its dissemination to the developing world under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Global Text is currently in a proof-of-concept phase with the preparation two electronic textbooks: Business Fundamentals and Information Systems. After a successful first phase, a non-profit foundation or similar organization is planned to be established to govern and manage the Global Text Project.
The Global Text Project sees information and education as crucial for development. At the same time textbooks are unaffordable to most people in developing regions of the world. For example, a Biology textbook priced at USD 108 in the U.S. sells for USD 51 in Africa.[dead link] The U.S. GNI per capita is USD 41,400. In Uganda, for example, it is USD 250. Here, Global Text is attempting to improve access and distribution with its free textbooks.
Global Text aims to provide a free textbook library encompassing all topics commonly encountered in the first years of university undergraduate education. Material is contributed by unpaid volunteers, although it is being considered whether to set up paid scholarships to encourage submission of material. Textbook projects are supervised by university teachers/professors from the relevant fields to ensure information quality. Experts are encouraged to contribute chapters or sections which are joined to produce a complete textbook. Students are also involved in content creation as well as in copyediting, preparation of diagrams, and software-related tasks.
The Global Text Project was set up jointly by the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia and the Daniels College of Business of the University of Denver. The project is currently managed by the Center for Information Systems Leadership of the Terry College of Business, University of Georgia.
In addition to these two institutions, the core team includes Richard Watson also of the University of Georgia, Don McCubbrey of the University of Denver, Wayne Huang from the Ohio University, Franz Lehner from the University of Passau in Germany, Andres Sepulveda from the Universidad de Concepción in Chile, and Negwa Badra from the Ain Shams University in Egypt.
The Global Text Project received funding from the Jacobs Foundation, Switzerland, to initiate the project.
Contribution and communication
Voluntary contribution of material by experts is the basis of the Global Text Project. Collaboration of authors is facilitated by the use of the ECM O3Spaces and the online, open source content management platform Drupal. Authors can also contribute text documents directly as OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Word to be integrated by Global Text helpers. The project employs XML technology to port content. A bibliography system and an illustration pipeline are still in development. Communication between organisers and contributors is aided by the use of Google Groups.
Global Text and Wikibooks
The aim of free information and the distributed structure of Global Text and Wikibooks are similar. Nevertheless, the organisers of Global Text opted for supervision of each textbook project by a known expert in the field to boost academic credibility. This may have been motivated by the pilot textbook in Information Systems not being used widely by courses after its creation.
Free information exchange between the two related projects is complicated by the different licenses attached to the content. All Wikimedia projects including Wikibooks currently use the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), while Global Text uses the Creative Commons by Attribution. For useful educational material on Wikibooks to be reviewed and distributed by Global Text, all Wikibooks authors would have to agree to a change of license, which is impossible in practise. A harmonisation of the two licenses would facilitate free information flow.
- Open source curriculum
- Wikibooks, Textbook
- Education, Free education, Education in Africa, History of education
- Developing country