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Open Textbooks Guide

This guide discusses what is an open textbook and where to locate them.

What are Open Textbooks and are They Different from Open Books?

Open Textbooks are an important Open Educational Resource that faculty and students are free to Use, Share, Adapt and Remix.   They have many advantages:

  • They are a great resource for students to use during this Covid 19 crises as they:
    • Can integrated into Course Management Systems like Moodle without any copyright issues.
    • Do not need to be ordered from Amazon or a bookstore .
    • We do not know how Covid 19 will impact publishers ability to print and distribute copies of textbooks.
  • ​Open Textbooks are  becoming commonplace, particularly for introductory texts.  
  •  BC Open Campus Textbooks  and Open Library in Ontario have produced many Canadian editions of textbooks; whereas the Open Textbook Library lists many Canadian and Non-Canadian Textbooks that are useful for a wide range of classes.
  • Their open license allows professors to Adapt or Remix a text (e.g. add current information, transcribe to another language, add a chapter, etc).
  • They are free for students to view and thereby aid in reducing student costs and hence making access to education a little more affordable. See: BC Campus provided stats for the anticipated savings among their institutions and indicated that the savings were between nine and ten million dollars.  ​

Open Books are similar to Open Textbooks in that they are free to Use and Share on sites like Moodle - but unlike Open Textbooks their Creative Commons Licenses generally do not  include Adapting  or Remixing in them.  This makes them more like Open Access journal articles.  So you need to check an Open Books license to learn if adapting or remixing is allowed.

This guide includes both as they are both useful for online courses.  I am also including locating and linking to library licensed (not free) content as a means of ensuring you are made aware of all possible online course materials.

Selecting and Evaluating an Open Textbook

Affordable Learning Georgia has a good document on evaluating an Open Textbook.  It includes information on Open Textbook Quality Criteria and Ancillary Materials Quality Criteria.  It is useful and too the point.  



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Carmen Kazakoff-Lane
Carmen Kazakoff -Lane, Scholarly Communications Librarian
John E. Robbins Library - ( LB 2-19 )
270-18th Street
Brandon, Manitoba
R7A 6A9

Ph: (204) 727-7483

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