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One of Next Generation Learning Challenge's profiles featured Thinkwell, a multimedia company which creates online video textbooks.

Profiles of Next Generation Learning: Thinkwell from NextGenLC (NGLC) on Vimeo.

According to the profile, Thinkwell's mission is to reinvent the college textbook for the 21st century. However, what they've really done is remove the textbook altogether, creating a video textbook which is essentially comprised of recorded lecture from an acclaimed professor. Rather than leaving students to do background reading themselves, which Thinkwell finds is usually the same thing as not having a textbook at all, Thinkwell reconfigures the information from the textbook into these lectures. Effectively, students get a second lecture, to be watched and processed on their own time, in lieu of a book. While they offer a growing number of course selections, currently the Thinkwell catalogue is focused primarily on math and the hard sciences.

The Thinkwell textbooks do retain some features of traditional textbooks. For example, they include some built in exercises and assessments. However, using the course management website that comes with each class subscription, exercises are automatically graded so students get instant feedback, and instructors get instant access to grades without having to do the grading themselves.

Admittedly, Thinkwell is not an OER. Like most textbooks, it requires purchasing or subscription. However, if it can replace a costly and/or ineffective textbook from your course, it could be worth making the transition.


Types of OER:
  • Audiovisual
  • Complete Modules
  • Lectures

  • Math/Statistics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Physics