If you are an educator looking for an open textbook to assign to your class, here are some suggested ways to start using a textbook from the collection. Educators don’t have to be from Ontario to use an open textbook. Open textbooks are not geographically limited. Anyone from Canada, the United States, or any other country in the world can use these resources because they have been released with an open license.
Find the right textbook. Search eCampus Ontario's open textbook collection (or search any of the other Open Textbook libraries listed in the Find <add link> section of this guide).
Review and evaluate the text to see if it meets educators’ and learners’ criteria based on content, presentation, online accessibility, production options, platform compatibility, delivery options, interactivity, consistency between online and printed versions, and available ancillary material (test banks, PowerPoints, etc.). If using an eCampus Ontario textbook, educators can apply to formally review one of the textbooks; see our information on reviewing a textbook.
Decide to use ‘as is’ or modify it. One of the benefits of open textbooks is the flexibility to modify and customize them for specific course designs – use as much or as little as desired. If educators want to make edits or append content, make sure the Creative Commons license allows for that (every CC license except the non-derivative license allows for modifications).
Distribute to learners. There are a number of ways you can do this.
Educators provide the link to the textbook to the class. Learners will have the option to select which file type they would like to download, or they can purchase a low cost printed version from a printer of their choosing.
Alternatively, educators download copies of the book and put them on another site. Some examples of where copies might live include:
institutional LMSs (Learning Management Systems). Load the book files into OnQ sites and make the textbook available to learners.
an online file sharing service like Dropbox or Google Docs. Upload a copy of the book files to Dropbox or Google Docs and send learners the link to that copy.
a website. Put copies of the files on a personal or professional website and send the class to the website to download a copy of the textbook.
Educators can approach the Queen's Campus Bookstore or the Publishing and Copy Centre to see if they can make printed copies of the books available for learners. Keep in mind that textbooks having a specific non-commercial clause (CC-BY-NC) and cannot be sold with a markup or at a profit. However, charging a modest cost-recovery fee for physical textbooks is considered reasonable.
If you adopt an eCampus Ontario textbook, let them know about it. If educators adopt an open textbook from this site, tell eCampusOntario about it. Adoption information is important to the long term viability of the open textbook project.
(Adapted from 2017 eCampus Ontario CC-BY.)
Educators who are looking for more information and direction on adopting open textbooks may be interested in an online course devoted to the topic. In early 2015, BCcampus facilitated an in-depth, 4-week online course through P2PU. All content from this course, including webinars, discussions, and more, is archived and available under an open license at P2PU.
This guide has been created by the Queen's University Library and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license unless otherwise marked. Sections of this guide have been adapted from the Open Access Educational Resources Guide at Ryerson University and the eCampus Ontario Open Library.