Developing Online and Offline Textbook Collections to Support Agricultural Curricula
World Ag Info Project Design Team
In many agricultural universities and colleges in the developing world, students do not have adequate access to textbooks for their courses, and often have to wait in long lines at library reserve desks to borrow the few available copies of the textbook. In some cases even the professor must use the library’s copy to prepare his or her lectures, although the available copies are often seriously out of date. Indian universities have addressed this problem to some extent through textbook “rental” centers, which collect a small fee from students for the use of a text for the semester. Applying this model in the electronic environment offers the potential to create digital collections of textbooks which could be made available for a small fee per student. Two types of texts could be added to this collection: 1) textbooks owned and distributed by publishers in electronic form where rights and fees have been negotiated; and 2) open access wikibook content developed by agricultural faculty, students and extension staff. Textbooks in these collections would be distributed to students either on inexpensive laptops (note: partnering with the One Laptop per Child program is one possible model), or content and delivery developed in conjunction with one of the new e-book reader development efforts, e.g. SONY Reader.
WorldAgInfo Project Solution Scenario 7: Preparing Universities for the New Agriculture. Based on the deliberations of participant groups in Workshop 1, the WorldAgInfo Design Team drafted a problems and solutions summary document (available within Section Three of the Final Report). This is one of several potential solution scenarios to emerge through that process. These were in turn used to inform proposed information projects generated by Workshop 2 participants in Livingstone, Zambia (available within Section Two of the Final Report).
World Ag Info Project
Information Systems; Agriculture; ICT; Agricultural Development; International Development; Agricultural Education