UMass Amherst Libraries Host Panel on Using Open Resources to Help Keep Higher Education Affordable

AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass Amherst libraries are presenting a panel discussion, "How Can a Textbook Be Free? Keeping Higher Education Affordable with Open Resources," on Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 1:30-4 p.m. in 163C Campus Center. The panel will include Stephen Carson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Eric Frank and Michael Boezi from Flat World Knowledge.

Stephen Carson is the external relations director for MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), a web-based publication of virtually all Massachusetts Institute of Technology course content. OCW is open and available to all. Carson is also the president of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, a worldwide community of hundreds of universities and associated organizations committed to advancing OpenCourseWare and its impact on global education.

Eric Frank, a 1992 UMass Amherst graduate, is founder and president of Flat World Knowledge, a venture capital-backed firm publishing free and openly licensed college textbooks. With more than 14 years of experience in higher education publishing, Frank has held positions in sales, editing and marketing at Thomson (now Cengage) and Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. Prior to starting Flat World, he was director of marketing for Prentice Hall Business Publishing.

Michael Boezi is the editorial director of Flat World Knowledge. Previously, he was executive editor at Pearson Education, editor at John Wiley & Sons, and marketing manager at Addison-Wesley.

Flat World Knowledge has raised more than $11.5 million in private investment capital in the past two years, and has grown to more than 40,000 users in just one academic season.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free educational materials and resources available for anyone to use at no cost. Examples of OER include textbooks, journals, course materials and software to support learning. For more information on OER, go to

The panel discussion is sponsored by the UMass Amherst division of student affairs and campus life, the Center for Teaching and the UMass Amherst libraries.