Free online textbooks (and prisoner education)

by Stephanie Chasteen on June 27, 2011

I get a surprising number of comments and emails about my post regarding a college education for inmates.  I take this as a sad indication of just how few resources there are out there for education for incarcerated persons. I used to volunteer at the Prison University Project at San Quentin — the only program that I know of to offer an AA degree to inmates.  I learnt of the program when doing a journalistic article on prisoner recidivism (“Life Beyond Bars“), and found Jody Lewen and her program and was so inspired by what they were doing that I volunteered while I lived there, and have sent donations ever since.  They would be most grateful for your donation — consider giving to that program. They do great work, all geared towards helping guys get their lives back on track when they get out.  After all, without education, it’s really hard to do something productive when you get out of being shut into an artificial world for however many years.

Anyway.  One of the recent inquiries asked me about free online resources for science education, or places to get free textbooks, for inmates without texts.  Since I imagine this would be of use to many others, I wanted to post the results from my network here.

Here is a thoughtful blog post about how Open Textbooks Offer Instructors More Control and another from Dot Physics about the future of published books.

CK-12 offers free online flexbooks in a variety of topics at the K12 level:

Connexions at Rice University has free online texts in a lot of subjects:

Wikibooks has open-content textbooks.

Open content math textbooks:

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has sponsored the development of a rather large number of open source textbooks — not only free, but editable:

OER Commons has a similar, but more variable, collection:
Same at community college level:

Merlot has some related, nontextbook, materials:

And anything elderly can be obtained from Project Gutenberg including some real classics by Poincare and the like.



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