The Department of French and Italian

TLTC Grant

Tue, October 13, 2009

Texas Language Technology Center Wins Funding

from the Department of Education to Develop Low-cost Alternative to Textbooks



Dr. Carl Blyth, director of the Texas Language Technology Center (TLTC) at the University of Texas has won a two-year award of $263,0000 from the US Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE).  The award is to develop a sustainable publishing model for foreign language instructional materials to combat the rising costs of textbooks. For the project, TLTC will form a publishing consortium with three other Texas institutions: Rice University, Texas Christian University, and Lone Star Community College (Houston, TX). 

The two-year FIPSE grant will allow TLTC to join open source technology with print-on-demand publishing to radically lower textbook prices. Besides price reductions, print on demand publishing holds many benefits, such as inventory tracking and little or no waste from unsold products. The goal is to create an online French textbook that will be free of charge and free of copyright and licensing restrictions. A print-on-demand version will be available for a fraction of the cost compared to most commercially published textbooks. In addition, the collaboratively published textbook will allow students and instructors to customize materials by editing existing content or by adding their own content.  

Thanks in large part to a previous FIPSE grant, TLTC has developed open access websites in six different foreign languages (Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish). Usage statistics and external evaluation indicate that these open access websites have achieved widespread acceptance in American higher education and constitute a significant improvement over commercial materials in several areas: user-friendliness, learner-centeredness, authenticity and price. 


TLTC’s website:


A letter of praise for Dr. Blyth:

"The goal of minimizing or even stabilizing the rising costs of textbooks and related study materials is noble indeed."

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  • Department of French and Italian

    University of Texas at Austin
    201 W 21st Street STOP B7600
    HRH 2.114A
    Austin, TX 78712-1800