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Open Educational Resources

Sustainability and Impact

An important step in the textbook creation and adaption process is to ensure your new OER is kept up-to-date and that you build in mechanisms to assess the impact on your teaching and learning. 

This page includes some tips on managing version of your textbook as well as assessing its impact on student learning.  


Keep it Current: Version History

Once you have published your open textbook you should determine a schedule for subsequent revisions to ensure the content remains relevant and up to date and to verify that external links remain live.

Record your updates:

  • Include a Version History in the back matter of your textbook to record any changes you make to your original textbook manuscript.  Minor edits such as grammar and punctuation do not need to be recoded
  • If you make substantial changes to the content and structure of your text consider publishing a new edition.

Revisions Checklist:

  • Are any cultural specific references still accurate and applicable?
  • Have the theories or approaches evolved?
  • Do you need to update or insert new media or links to other resources?
  • Has your audience or educational level changed?
  • Do you need to expand the content to include new information?
  • Do you need to insert differing viewpoints to that originally given in the material?
  • Invite your readers input on your textbook. For example, include a Report an Open Textbook Error form so that your readers can notify you of any errors. 


Mitigate Link Rot:

External websites you link to may disappear or move over time. Use free services like to preserve the online sources you cite. Create a permanent link to your resource and cite it together with the original URL as explained in this Harvard Guide.

Assess the Impact of Your Textbook

A key outcome of your project should include an Impact Assessment Plan describing how use of your new open textbook impacted both your teaching and the student learning experience.  Impact measures can include: 

  • Impact on your teaching: evaluate your own experience of teaching with your textbook. Ask yourself - did the textbook make your course easier to teach?
  • Cost savings for students: calculate the estimated savings for students compared with purchasing the commercial textbook 
  • student uptake: estimate the number of students who will engage with your textbook via your / others course syllabi
  • Usage data for open content eg number of downloads, views etc.
  • Re-use by others: evidence that your openly licensed content has been re-mixed and re-used by other educators, both at Queen’s and beyond.  E.g.derivative works (if permitted via your chosen license).  Build-in automatic feedback mechanisms into your textbook site.  
  • Gather student, co-author, instructor testimonials: in their-own words use-cases describing experience with using your textbook can be powerful.

For help and advice on your Impact Assessment Plan, including support with creating bite-sized testimonials and other impact evidence, please email:


Aesoph, L.M. (2018). Self-Publishing Guide. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. Retrieved from

Open Textbook Toolkit (2018). University of Toronto. Retrieved from: