What is an Open Textbook?
“An open textbook is a
textbook licensed under an
open copyright license, and
made available online to be
freely used by students,
teachers and members of the
public. Many open textbooks
are distributed in either print, ebook, or audio formats that may
be downloaded or purchased at
little or no cost”
Text CC: BY NC ND
Licensing - varieties on...
+ Public Domain
+ CC 0
+ ~ GNU and the
● What influences your textbook choice?
● How often do you reevaluate your textbook
● Do you know how much the textbook(s) in
your course costs?
● Do you know when it was last updated?
● Is your textbook available in a variety of
formats (book, audio, large print, ebook (pdf,
kindle, epub, ...))?
● Do you know (or have an impression of)
what % of your students do not buy the
textbook? Do you know why?
Plug into existing
and the ‘scattershot’
results of your initial
Finding (different related stuff)
● Boundless https://www.boundless.
● open textbooks + enhanced stuff for $
● Bookboon http://bookboon.com/ Free, but
● Flat World Knowledge http://catalog.
flatworldknowledge.com/ not free, not open,
but cheap and customizable (within their
● There’s a lot of materials focused on K-12.
● There’s a lot of dead links.
● There’s a lot of Open Educational Resources
which could be or become an open textbook
but which would need to be adapted.
Beyond the basic evaluation of an academic
resource, how do you start to assess a
Write down three things (tips, tricks, criteria)
which help you in selecting a textbook then
discuss them with a colleague
And “the quality of learning resources is usually
determined using the following lenses:
● Reputation of author/institution
● Standard of technical production
● Fitness for purpose”
The wider or abstract discussion and evaluation
of quality is, however, only one dimension of
How you and your students can use it for your
course is the primary question.
● PennState - much of their OpenCourseware
is online as html ebooks http://open.ems.
● natureofgeoinfo.org https://www.e-education.
● Earth 106: the African Continent https:
As much as cost plays a role one of the
strongest rationale for open textbooks in
distinction to cheap or free is the ability to do
more or less what you want with the text including the ability to modify or adapt the text.
Adapting - an example
From Project Management: from Simple to
(FWK textbook originally with open license)
Project Management for Instructional Designers
License permissions and mixing
but working incrementally
And a note on Plone
and GinkoTree (UWM pilot)
Adopting: other content?
Add other content and consider how to
enhance a text when it’s natively an etext...
An aside on Book sprints:
OER Booksprint Reflections
References and Resources
David Wiley, (2013) On Quality and OER http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/2947
Nicole Allen (2013) OER and solving the textbook cost crisis http://www.slideshare.
Quality considerations (OER Infokit)