Basically everything that applies to the blogs section also applies here, but university lecture notes are so important to us that they deserve a bit more talk.
It is arguable that this is currently the best way to learn any university subject, and that it can already be used to learn any subject.
We basically just want to make the process more efficient and enjoyable, by making it easier:
  • to find what you want based on an initial subject hit across the best version of any author
  • and to publish your own stuff with one click, and get feedback if people like it or not, and improvement suggestions like you do you GitHub
One major problem with lecture notes is that, as the name suggests, they are merely a complement to the lecture, and don't contain enough detail for you to really learn solely from them without watching the lecture.
The only texts that generally teach in enough depth are actual books, which are almost always commercial.
So in a sense, this project can be seen as a path to upgrade free lecture notes into full blown free books, from which you can learn from scratch without any external material.
And a major way in which we believe this can be done is through the reuse of sections of lecture notes by from other universities, which greatly reduces the useless effort of writing things from scratch.
The intended mental picture is clear: the topics feature docs.ourbigbook.com/#ourbigbook-web-topics will is intended to act as the missing horizontal topic integration across lecture notes of specific universities, e.g:
MIT calculus course             UCLA calculus course

* Calculus                <---> * Calculus
  * Limit                 <--->   * Limit
    * Limit of a function
    * Limit of a series   <--->     * Limit of a series
  * Derivative            <--->   * Derivative
                                    * L'Hôpital's rule
  * Integral              <--->   * Integral
Figure 1. Example topics page of OurBigBook.com.
One important advantage of lecture notes is that since they are written by the teacher, they should match exactly what "students are supposed to learn to get good grades", which unfortunately is a major motivation for student's learning weather we want it or not.
One big open question for this project is to what extent notes written for lectures at one university will be relevant to the lectures at another university?
Is it possible to write notes in a way that they are naturally reusable?
It is our gut feeling that this is possible. But it almost certainly requires an small intentional effort on the part of authors.
The question then becomes whether the "become famous by getting your content viewed in other universities" factor is strong enough to attract users.
And we believe that it might, it just might be.
A major difficulty of getting such this to work is that may university teachers want to retain closed copyright of their work because they:
Therefore the only way is to find teachers who are:
  • enlightened to use such licenses
  • forced by their organizations to use such licenses
The forced option therefore seems like a more bulk efficient starting point for searches.
No matter how much effort a single person puts into writing perfect tutorials, they will never beat 1000x people + an algorithm.
It is not simply a matter of how much time you have. The fundamental reason is that each person has a different background and different skills. Notably the young students have radically different understanding than that of the experienced teacher.
Therefore, those that refuse to contribute to such platforms, or at least license their content with open licenses, will inevitably have their work forgotten in favor of those that have contributed to the more open platform, which will eventually dominate everything.
Perhaps OurBigBook.com is not he killer platform that will make this happen. Perhaps the world is not yet ready for it. But Ciro believes that this will happen, sooner or later, inevitable, and he wants to give it a shot.
Also worth checking:
Figure 1. The Grad Student Brain by PhD Comics (2010) Source. Convincing academics that their tutorial are not always perfect is one of blocking points to the acceptance of solutions such as OurBigBook.com. To thrive in the competition of academia, those people are amazing at publishing novel results. Explaining to beginners however, not necessarily so.

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