Revolutionizing learning with free “intelligent” textbooks

Daniel Williamson of OpenStax talks at a desk

Since 2012, OpenStax, developed at Rice University in Houston, Texas, has helped 9 million students get a college education by offering free textbooks online. That’s no small matter, given that the cost of textbooks rose a whopping 1,041 percent from 1977 to 2015. Over the past few years, textbooks have begun to decline in price, largely as a result of open-source options like OpenStax. With titles that cross many disciplines — math and science, social studies and the humanities, business — OpenStax supports millions of students on their path to achieve their dreams. 

Now OpenStax’s free high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks are getting a high-tech spin, by using artificial intelligence to create interactive textbooks that ask students customized questions and give immediate feedback. The Charles Koch Foundation—part of the Stand Together community — is supporting OpenStax as it merges content and technology to transform learning, both in helping create new textbooks and in developing AI-powered adaptive technology that turns the passive textbook experience into an active, personalized learning experience. As Daniel Williamson, managing director of OpenStax, says, “We are creating a series of textbooks that learn from you as you learn from them, and then adapt to your individual needs and preferences as a student.”

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