Class Use

How can I get my newly-created open textbook to my students?

Your open textbook has been written, edited, formatted, and published. Now it’s time to get it out there for students to use and, if you so choose, for other authors to adapt.

1)     Online hosting on a publishing platform

Many of the publishing platforms mentioned above, including Pressbooks, OMP, Scalar, Gitbooks, and OER Commons, can host your book online in the form of a website with an interactive table of contents. Some of them also allow exporting the content anytime as PDF or ePub for local reading or printing.

The advantage of this approach is that an open textbook can be a living documents, with subsequent updates, and the PDF/ePub version generated on the fly will always have the most recent edits.

The disadvantage of hosting an open textbook  this way is that the website will require continuous maintenance beyond textbook creation, may not be as easily discoverable by search engines as already established book indexes and databases, and may present difficulties with long term preservation due to changing technology.

2)     Adding a book to a repository or database

Another approach to distributing your open textbook is exporting it in a variety of formats and adding it to an existing database or repository. These may include:

  • Your university’s institutional repository
  • Your university’s library collection
  • Various open textbook collections, such as:
    • Open Textbook Library (University of Minnesota) – supports full text loading
    • SOL*R (University of British Columbia) – supports full text loading
    • Merlot (California State University) – supports links to externally hosted materials only

The two approaches do not need to be mutually exclusive – you can keep a living version of a book in a publishing platform, and export a static edition to a repository that may, in the future, be updated with a newer version. You can also add links pointing to your resource to multiple online collections and catalogues to increase visibility.

3)     Print on demand

Consider making your open textbook available for printing via your institution’s printing shop. Printing will have a cost, but will still be much cheaper than a traditional textbook.

See the BC Campus Print on Demand Guide (currently work in progress)

  • If piloting an open textbook you have produced, beta testing in your classroom using anonymous feedback forms might prove to be useful.
  • Students can be invited to author chapters

What are some of the opportunities around classroom adoption of open textbooks?

  • Authors have an opportunity to rework their publications based on feedback. If budgeting, possibly consider time for a minor revision after the first run of the course as a requirement.
  • Classroom use of open textbooks offers authors use the following strategies to evaluate their materials:
    • awarding bonus points (up to 10) for feedback provided by students,
    • measuring resource effectiveness by providing an anonymous form for input to students
    • engaging students in the creation/revision process
  • Because the editing process of open textbooks can take place at any time, instructors have been known to continue developing additional resources between teaching courses based on student input such as,
    • PPTs, quiz questions, case studies

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