Open Textbooks

"Open Textbook" is a term used for textbooks that are typically:
  1. Free to access online
  2. Low cost to get a print copy
  3. Licensed by the author/creator with rights that are less restrictive than copyright (i.e. all rights reserved). This license typically (though not always) includes the right of any user to copy (digitally) & print the text as well as the right to adapt it as desired for use in a course, as long as authorship is attributed and use is non-commercial.

Presentation from April 29th & May 6th

See attachments at the bottom of the page for PowerPoint slides with notes and a screen recording of the live presentation by Kate.

After viewing the presentation please share your feedback in the post-presentation survey.

Do you use an open textbook? Are you reviewing titles for possible adoption? Please let me know!

Introductions to Open Textbooks & Open Licensing Copyright Alternative

Great article by librarian Steven Bell: Taming the Textbook Market

The basic concepts and process behind using open textbooks: "Janet Spencer"

Testimonials on adopting an open text by actual community college faculty: Erik Christensen, physics professor and Lisa McDonnell, sociology professor

Creative Commons Videos: There are several here, each explaining different aspects of licensing and how it works

Sites with more information on Open Textbooks in general

Community College Open Textbook Collaborative

Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources

Selecting & adopting an Open Textbook

**Start here!** CCOTC's "Adoption of Open Textbooks Quick Start"

CCOTC's Open Textbooks by subject, with reviews

DiscoverEd This is cool! A search engine created by Creative Commons that searches only OER resources.

The Orange Grove Digital Repository and Texts Plus

MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

Connexions: Similar to MERLOT, "a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc."

Folksemantic: search, recommend, collaborate, remix

Textbook Revolution site run by students promoting use of open texts by college professors. *Not all content here is licensed to be "open".*

Commercial Sites with Open Texts

Flat World Knowledge "Remixable textbooks by expert authors. Free online and affordable offline."

Textbook\Media: A resource similar to Flat Word above, aiming to make selected textbooks available at an affordable price with lots of flexibility in both faculty and student preferences.

Evaluating Open Textbooks

Automated Text Readability Rating -- Type or paste a portion of the text and you'll receive a rating on readability, including an approximate grade level

Other Sources for Open Content: Books

Creative Commons [this is not peer-reviewed] list of books (not limited to textbooks) available under a Creative Commons License

Project Gutenberg: books in the public domain (most of these are old enough that their copyright has expired)

Bartleby: more books in the public domain

Google Book Search:
The "advanced book search"  option lets you search only those books whose full contents can be viewed online. *Note: There is not a print option for Google Books.*

Curriki: "curricula-wiki" Not strictly books, but mostly text-based. A wide variety of materials.

Other Sources for Open Content: Music, Films & other Media

Creative Commons [this is not peer-reviewed] media search (includes images, music, video, websites)

Internet Archive: Free Movies, Music, Books & Wayback Machine: exceptional resource!

HippoCampus: materials are free but may not be copied or transformed.

PBS Video: PBS is now has free streaming video of many of their programs. (Free but not open.)

Resources for Creating & Hosting Your Own Textbook

BongoBooks: Wow, amazing tool, and completely free. Hosts your text, lets you import your own files, open files found on another site, and incorporates many features of Course Management Systems as well, including loading assignments and a secure gradebook. One nice feature for students is the ability to make their own annotations on the text that only they can see. "Demo" and "FAQs" links give a great overviews of the various functions. *A note on use of this site to create your own text: BongoBooks gives instructors the option of charging students for access and then receiving royalties from each purchase. If you use materials created by someone else through an open license agreement and put it on this site, you will most likely not be able to charge students to access the book, as most open license educational resources require non-commercial use only.

BookBuilder: Another great book-building tool with nice features such as a text reader and student annotation tool.

Flat World Knowledge accepts new texts and will also host a textbook you've adapted from one already in their repository
Connexions does the same.

Kirkwood's ANGEL Course Management System could conceivably be used to host any type of content you create, including what amounts to a textbook, although it doesn't have near the specific functionality for a "book" format that the above sites give you.

Google Sites has a little more functionality than ANGEL does in formatting a site to look the way you want it too. It also has a function to make the site private so that only your students can access it. It doesn't however allow each individual student to access personal information such as grades. The automatic Table of Contents function would be a nice way to organize lots of chunks of information you collected from different sources.

Engrade is a free and secure online gradebook. It has a few course management system-type features, including an assignment calendar and an attendance tracker. Why include it here? It could round out the course management-type functions you might miss by moving your content to another format, such as Google Sites or Kirkwood's Website Manager.

Attachments: Presentation Files

The PowerPoint files (see below) are simply the slides from the two sessions I've presented on Open Textbooks. My notes are included if you view them in "notes" view.

The file "opentextbook.irf" (see below) is an iLinc file, which is a recording of one of the live sessions given simultaneously in person and through iLinc. To view this recording, you must first go to Kirkwood's iLinc site , click on "System Test" in the top navigation bar, then click on the "part II" join test. This will download the software you need to view the recording. Once you've done this, return to this page, download and open the .irf file, and it should automatically open in iLinc.
Kate Hess,
May 6, 2010, 12:22 PM
Kate Hess,
Apr 27, 2010, 6:58 AM
Kate Hess,
May 14, 2010, 11:04 AM