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It's An Open Book: Adopting Open Textbooks

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Open textbooks are complete electronic textbooks that, unlike commercial e-textbooks, are accessible online at no cost, and affordable to be purchased as a printed book. The material inside open …

Open textbooks are complete electronic textbooks that, unlike commercial e-textbooks, are accessible online at no cost, and affordable to be purchased as a printed book. The material inside open textbooks is similar to traditional texts - the difference is that open textbooks are licensed to allow users to legally access and reformat copies of the text at no additional cost.

This presentation discusses how open textbooks offer schools entry opportunities to use open education resources, deliver content via mobile devices, give faculty a way to integrate new technology delivery tools that meet today's student’s preferences, and allow for customized course materials while lowering student costs.

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  • Most of our resources are instructional
  • ? Your ideas? What’s different about online materials? Accessible? How to bridge the digital divide? Mobile?


  • 1. It’s an open book…
    Adopting Open Textbooks
    Ken Ronkowitz
    Passaic County Community CollegeCommunity College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
    NJEDge.Net Annual Conference November 2010
  • 2. 11/17/2010
    Open Goes Mainstream?
    Free Books…Project Gutenberg has taken out-of-copyright books in the public domain and scanned them into its library…
    Want to download a copy to your computer, Kindle or iPhone? Head to ManyBooks.net.
    The use of so-called open source textbooks, offered by companies like FlatWorld Knowledge, is also on the rise. “Students who are assigned open source textbooks can usually download a copy for free, or they can buy a printed and bound version for $20 to $40,” Ms. Allen said. (Suggest it to your future professors.)
  • 3.
    • Students acquire additional debt
    • 4. Don’t purchase textbooks
    • 5. Take fewer classes
    • 6. Select classes based on textbook costs
    Source: GAO
  • 7. Bundlingcomes with CengageNOW, Personal Tutor with SMARTHINKING, InfoTrac 2-Semester Printed Access Card
    Used 5th Edition
    Online @ $14.94-$81.78
    New 6th Edition
  • 8. Open Textbooks
    One Solution
  • 9. Introduction to Economic Analysis
    R. Preston McAfee, Caltech
    ISBN: 160049000X
    Used at:
    Harvard, NYU, Cal Poly, UC-Santa Barbara, Caltech, Oregon State…
    Online: Free
    PDF/Word: Free
    Hard copy: $15.20
  • 10. Collaborative Statistics
    Barbara Illowsky & Susan Dean
    ISBN: 9780978745973
    For more information:
    Online: Free
    PDF/Word: Free
    Hard copy: $31.98
  • 11. My Introduction to Open Textbooks
    I found a book I wanted to use
    $47 on Amazon
    After searching online using the usual search paths, I stumbled upon collegeopentextbooks.org and searched on the author
  • 12. That title was not listed, but…
  • 13. Which led me to…
    A authorized wiki that offers the book to read/download for free (pdf), Reviews and Blogs, Discussions, Interviews, Video & Audio Resources
    And materials on his publisher’s site
    And the other title by Benkler…
  • 14. Available from Lulu for $5.14 or as a free download
  • 15. Why leave traditional textbooks?
    No textbook fits exactly - and it’s all or nothing - though this is changing even with traditional publishers due to pressure…
    Students complain
    - about high prices - an average two-year college student spends nearly 75% of what they spend on tuition on textbooks
    - if only a few chapters are used in the course
    - when sent to different places for readings and materials
    Textbooks are bundled with [too] many re$ources, labs etc.
    Print textbooks don’t have the advantages of eTextbooks – but commercial eTextbooks are not open
  • 16.
  • 17. An open textbook is…
    Modifiable by the instructor
    Digital, Modular
    Low cost to the students
    Usually free for those with computers and internet access
    Printable for “free” or for a small fee (print centers etc.)
    Sometimes available in bound copies for $10-$40
    Labeled for reuse Flickr MrKCools
  • 18. An open textbook has been…
    Changed by the creators fromCopyright All Rights Reserved
    toCopyleftSome Rights Reserved under an open licensee.g., Creative Commons License
    From the Creative Commons store
  • 19. Some Open Textbook Myths
    Creators never receive monetary compensation for open textbooks.
    Written by anonymous amateurs or crowd-sourced.
    Derivative versions damage the author’s reputation.
    They are of lower quality and
    Out-of-date (expired copyrights, public domain)
    Publishers and bookstores are enemies of open textbooks. (Okay, that’s partially true…)
    Open Textbooks and eBooks are the same thing 
  • 20. Open Textbooks & e-Textbooks
    E-texts (publisher online textbooks):
    Have restrictive licenses (e.g. no modifications)
    Still costly
    Accessible for a limited time period (semester)
    Usually have restrictions on the amount of material students can print
    Open Textbooks:
    Can usually be modified/customized
    Can be viewed/read for no cost online
    Are permanently available in a repository or as a download
    Can be fully printed for a low cost
  • 21. Some Benefits of Open Textbooks
    Higher efficiency - use/reuse/remix modules
    More adaptable to learning styles, cultures, geographies, devices… (than proprietary files/devices)
    Use only content is needed: saves paper, toner, and weight – may also avoid some confusion for students
    More feedback from teachers and students to the creators (authors, illustrators, publishers, editors...) for global textbook improvement
    Free for those with computers or readers and Internet access & lower cost for printed and bound versions
    Students can better afford more classes & other books or materials
  • 22. Two Community College Organizations
    • Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER)
    • 23. 97 colleges join to give 2-year schools a big voice in open textbooks and other OER
    • 24. Community College Open Textbooks Collaborative
    • 25. A group of 12 organizations funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to increase the demand and supply of open textbooks
  • 26. The Process 3 Steps
    CC licensed by larry&flo 2007
  • 27. Starting Out
    DO NOT search here
    Use repositories
  • 28. 1 Identifying Titles
    Full reviews are also available with comments and ratings for each chapter
  • 29. What is a Digital Repository?
    A system to store and manage a variety of digital resources
    Content is
    created once
    stored once
    used or repurposed times
    Facilitates discoveryof resources
    Users can link to OR download resources
    Users can ADD resources
  • 30. What’s in The Orange Grove?
    Textbooks that are freely available with nonrestrictive licenses
    But also, all types of digital content
    Audio/video files
    Documents / slide presentations
    Images, animations
    Web pages
  • 31. Who can use the repository?
    Faculty are Primary Users
    have direct access to content
    make content available to their students
    Students and Public
    can search and have direct access only to public resources
  • 32. Other Digital Repositories
  • 33. Search Criteria
    Student Learning Objectives
    Course titles, descriptions
    Material type (Quiz, reading, etc.)
    Author or expert
  • 34. Develop Selection Criteria
    • Your discipline may already have selection criteria
    • 35. How should the criteria differ from those created for printed textbooks?
    • 36. Use standardized criteria
    • 37. Based on discipline requirements and best practices
    • 38. Modify existing criteria
    • 39. For modules, e-books, and other formats
    • 40. Use available reviews
  • Possible Selection Criteria
  • 2 Evaluate
  • 56. Check Peer Reviews
    On collegeopentextbooks.org, there are reviews linked to titles have been submitted by educators and professionals in the field.
    "They are the opinions of the individual authors and do not represent an endorsement of any textbook by the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative"
    The Outline of American Literature, newly revised, traces the paths of American narrative, fiction, poetry and drama as they move from pre-colonial times into the present, through such literary movements as romanticism, realism and experimentation. Online and as PDF
  • 57. Contact All Stakeholders
    Curriculum Committee, Department, Dean or other group that approves textbook adoptions
    IT - restrictions on requiring computer/internet access?
    Department colleagues, adjuncts, TAs
    College bookstore
    College library / Media center
    Print Shop
    Students (soft launch?)
  • 58. Online View
    Download to print or offer as file
    Online version
    Buy hard copy
  • 59. Sample Chapter
    Navigate table of contents
    Key terms link to definition
  • 60. 3 Adoption and Use
  • 61. 3 Adopt and Use
    Choose the parts of the textbook that fit your course, rather than letting the textbook drive curriculum design and the syllabus.
  • 62. 3 Adoption Paths
    Soft Launching?
    Use for readings and homework only
    Use only in classroom
    Use in the Learning Management System
    Use for remediation (offer a prior level textbook)
    Use for
    lifelong learning
    dual enrollment
    K-20 initiatives…
    From Flickr ronk53
  • 63. Additional Learning & Training
  • 64. Join In
    College Open Textbooks Community CollegeOpenTextbooks.ning.com
    OpenTextbook AdvocateTrainers Learning Stream for College Campus OER Promoters OpenTextbookAdvocateTrainers.ning.com
  • 65. More…
    Presentation, more information & updates http://pccc.libguides.com/etextbooks
  • 66. Presentation, more information & updates pccc.libguides.com/etextbooks
    Ken Ronkowitz is the Director of the Writing Initiative at PCCC and an Advocate/Trainer as part of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources oerconsortium.org