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Open Educational Resources

Draft Your Project Plan

Before you delve into creating your new open textbook, invest a little time at the start preparing your game plan.  This will pay dividends later.  Consider:

  1. Your project team members (see below), also identify the project lead (the person who may keep everyone else on track)
  2. Draft a project plan.  See example template
  3. Identify and familiarize yourself with the range of cross campus support units who may be able to help you at various points during your project.  

Do you wish to solicit co-authors for your new textbook? 

Identify Available Support Services

Queen’s Open Education Support Services

Role Support Unit                                                                                                                                                 
  • Find: openly licensed content and other Library subscription resources for your textbook e.g. journal articles, eBooks, images etc.
  • Accessibility: guidance on ensuring your textbook meets accessibility standards
  • Curricular Alignment and instructional Design:
    • Using technology to support the pedagogical features of your textbook
    • Structuring your textbook content


  • Distribute: distribute and/or adopt your own or another textbook at Queen's

Campus Bookstore

Other Ancillary Resources

Role Resources 
  • Copyeditors

  • Peer Reviewers
  • Illustrators


Understand and Define Your Audience

There are many factors to consider when thinking about the intended audience for your textbook. Aside from the readers’ content needs for your particular course you’ll need to consider their year of study, the prerequisite knowledge that you’re assuming as well as other programmatic contextual variables. In addition, you might also consider your intentions for the way your readers will engage with the content. Some questions for your consideration?

  • In what year of study are your intended readers?
  • What level of background knowledge is required?
  • How do you intend your students to use the textbook?
  • What is the primary purpose of the textbook?
    • Present foundational content?
    • Challenge assumptions?
    • Induct readers to a specific orientation?
    • Invite critical engagement?

Your intended readers as well as the orientation you would like them to take to content can have a tremendous impact on the way you choose to structure the content of your textbook.

*Note: your open textbook must be created on Queen's instance of Pressbooks (a partnership with eCampusOntario). See: Step 3: Publish and Distribute.

Create an Outline of Your Textbook

TIP: The way that you select and organize your content will determine how useful the book will be as an instructional tool, both for yourself and others who may wish to adapt it later.

  • Identify keywords based on your course objectives or student learning outcomes.
  • Decide on a consistent organizational structure for your textbook e.g. chapter topics and within that, section or parts
  • Next, consider the elements of each chapter. 

For example:

  • Opening: (front matter): Table of Contents, copyright page, introduction, preface etc.
  • Body: Integrated pedagogical devices: e.g. summary tables, graphs, study and review questions
  • Features: case studies, profiles, models etc.
  • Closers (back matter): conclusion, summaries, reference lists, lists of definitions, version history etc.

TIP: Plan ahead - Pressbooks, Queen’s Open Textbook editing and publishing platform, provides a set of pre-made box features that you can use to structure your chapters (see below).

Creative Commons License

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 by Ryerson University licensed under CC/BY 4.0