Friday, January 31, 2014

Open Source Textbooks for Introduction to Proofs

It has been a very rewarding experience to move my book, Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof, from the world of commercial publishing to the world of OER (Open Educational Resources).  I have had more contact with users of the textbook (both students and professors) since August than I did for over ten years when the book was commercially published.  It is really nice to know when someone adopts the book for use in their class, and it is especially nice to get messages from students who are grateful that they can obtain a book free of charge or obtain the printed copy for less than $20.

So I encourage everyone to consider using open-source textbooks whenever possible even if it is not the one I wrote.  I believe the book that I wrote is very different than most textbooks, but others might disagree with this.  In any case, I realize that not everyone will like the book that I have written and would not consider using it for their course.  One problem with the Introduction to Proofs course is that there is no standard content associated with this course.  Most departments of mathematics have developed their own version of an introduction to proofs course.  In that sense, it is different that a calculus course.  So it is difficult to write a book that can be used at various institutions.

So even if you do not want to use Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof, there are other high quality, open-source options available.  I know of two such books both of which are on the list of approved textbooks from the American Institute of Mathematics.  They are:

I encourage you to download copies of these books and review them for possible use.  If nothing else, you can provide your students links to these books (as well as mine, of course).

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