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					The Global Text Project:
The Arabic Imperative
Richard T. Watson—University of Georgia
Nagwa Badr—Ain Shams University
Donald J. McCubbrey—University of Denver
The problem

 Poverty   is a problem for half the world
 Mass   education is a means of relieving mass poverty
 Textbooks   are essential to education
 Thecurrent business model does not work for
 developing economies
Goals

   Create a free library of 1,000 electronic textbooks for
    students in the developing world
   Cover the range of topics typically encountered in a
    university’s undergraduate programs
   Engage the global academic community and global
    corporations to create and sponsor the library
Proof of concept
 Createan infrastructure for free, open-content, global
 electronic texts
 Publish   two books in four languages
  Arabic,   Chinese, English, and Spanish
 Develop    a sustainable financial model
 Learn   how to scale
 Build   a system around the scarce resource
Opportunity

 $100   laptop
 XML    text experience
 AACSB    BizEd article
 Enthusiastic    reception of idea
Economic development

 Aidagencies should focus on specific tasks (e.g.,
 textbooks)
  William   Easterly, former World Bank economist
 The return on educational instructional materials is
 estimated to be up to 14 times higher than the return
 on physical facilities
  World   Bank report
Economic development
   ―Three broad facts about education have emerged from recent
    research.

       Firstly, almost universally education is found to lift people out of
        poverty.

       Secondly, when a comparison is made between investing in
        education and other forms of investment, the returns from investing
        in education are on average higher.

       Thirdly, the returns to education–in the sense of the increment in
        income that accrues to each year of education–are much higher for
        those with higher levels of education‖

   Paul Collier, Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies
    at Oxford University
The environment
 Wired 2007.09
Key directions

 Quality

  Quality   Assurance Board
  Editorial   structure
  Procedures     for quality
 Sponsorship    of books
Quality
(book)
                   Editor-in-Chief
   Develop the structure of a book

   Assurance of complete coverage

   Identification of links between chapters

   Manage consistency between chapters

   Recruit chapter editors

   Manage relations with the book sponsor

   Chair regular meetings of the chapter editors
 Quality
(chapter)
Chapter editor
   Develop the structure of a chapter

   Take a lead role in writing a chapter

   Quality assurance for additions and deletions

   Recruit contributors to ensure a global perspective on key issues

   Create links where appropriate to other books in the series and
    relevant Web sites

   Recruit contributors to help with writing the chapter, developing
    exercises, support material and so forth
Renewable student projects

   Massive waste in
    university education
   Develop human,
    software, and
    communication
    infrastructure to
    reduce waste
   Highly motivating
An organizational design




    Domain of student opportunity
Software requirements

 Enable    searching across a library, field, book, or
  chapter
 Management      of access rights
 MathML     support
 Multiple   output forms
 Multiple   languages
Software requirements

 The   scarce resource principle of design
  Maximize    the number of people who can contribute
    Uploading    of word processing files
    All   maintenance done within a word processor
    Simple    interface
Partners


 Ain   Shams University, Egypt
 University   of Concepción, Chile
 Wuhan    University & Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
  China
Arabic imperative

 How do we efficiently and effectively translate to and
 from Arabic?
 How   do we handle technological and scientific terms?
 How   do we engage students in Arabic universities?
 How   do we promote the project?
 What   are the cultural pitfalls?
Engaging many for the
 benefit of many more

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