Richard Baraniuk founded Connexions — now called OpenStax — a free, open-source, global clearinghouse of course materials. Students and educators tap into its vast store of texts on everything from engineering to ornithology to music, adapting the content as they see fit.

Why you should listen

Rice University professor Richard Baraniuk has a giant vision: to create a free global online education system that puts the power of creation and collaboration in the hands of teachers worldwide. He's realizing that vision with OpenStax (formerly named Connexions), a website that allows teachers to quickly "create, rip, mix and burn" coursework -- without fear of copyright violations. Think of it as Napster for education.

OpenStax's open-source system cuts out the textbook, allowing teachers to share course materials, modify existing work and disseminate it to their students -- all for free, thanks to Creative Commons licensing. Baraniuk envisions OpenStax as a repository where the most up-to-date material can be shared and reviewed (it's far more efficient than waiting for a textbook to be printed); it could become a powerful force in leveling the education playing field. Currently encompassing hundreds of online courses and used by a million people worldwide, Baraniuk's virtual educational system is revolutionizing the way people teach and learn.

What others say

“[Baraniuk] is trying to reshape the way academe uses both peer review and publishing. The project also has hopes of becoming a major curricular tool at community colleges.” — Inside Higher Ed

Richard Baraniuk’s TED talk

Richard Baraniuk on the TED Blog

Web-based ways to make a difference

January 1, 2008

To help those of us making resolutions this week, here is a sampling of web tools for making a difference, inspired by TEDTalks speakers: + Share Ron Eglash‘s cool math tools, for studying math via breakdancing, Latin beats and cornrow braids + Dive into Richard Baraniuk‘s Connexions, a massive repository of open-source class materials + […]

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Quotes from Richard Baraniuk

We are trying to enable anyone in the world to be their own educational DJ, creating educational materials, sharing them with the world, constantly innovating on them.
Richard Baraniuk
TED2006 • 834K views Aug 2006
Informative, Inspiring