Looking for an open textbook in your discipline? Start with the Open Textbook Library.
The Open Textbook Library provides a list of peer-reviewed and openly-licensed textbooks that are currently in use at multiple higher educational institutions, or affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.
What are you interested in doing with open textbooks?
Adopt/Adapt: Want to assign an open textbook, or make adjustments/add to one currently available? Find its Creative Commons license, then adopt/adapt and share the work accordingly. Check out the OpenEd portal for more information.
Create: If you're an instructor wanting to create an open textbook, contact Rachel Caldwell, Scholarly Communication & Publishing Librarian.
Are you already using an open textbook or other open educational resource (OER)? Tell us!
Use this online form so the university can estimate overall student savings, and know which departments are making use of these resources. We'll also tell the Bookstore (VolShop), so they can tell students about print options for those that wish to purchase a bound copy.
The 2016-17 SGA Open Education Awards were given to UT instructors who chose to assign open textbooks, saving students over $135,000 in just one semester.
STUDENTS: Nominate an innovative instructor who is using open educational resources (OERs), including open textbooks, for the SGA Open Education Award! More information...
About Open Textbooks
What Are Open Textbooks?
Open textbooks are a type of open educational resource (OER). OERs are "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”1
They are available for free online, and come in a variety of subjects. Although open textbooks are born digital, students who prefer print books can print all pages themselves or request a printed and bound copy from the university bookstore or other retailer for a small fee.2
It is increasingly difficult for students to buy all their required textbooks. A national study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that "textbook prices have risen over three times the rate of inflation from January 1977 to June 2015, a 1,041% increase."3 In recent surveys, students report not buying required textbooks for some courses despite concern for their grades, using student loan money to purchase textbooks, and making course registration decisions based on textbook costs.4,5
Open textbooks can help improve student access to textbooks and, as a result, improve student success. Researchers recently studied "nearly 5,000 post-secondary students using OER and over 11,000 control students using commercial textbooks, distributed among ten institutions across the United States, enrolled in 15 different undergraduate courses. In three key measures of student success -- course completion, final grade of C- or higher, course grade -- students whose faculty chose OER generally performed as well or better than students whose faculty assigned commercial textbooks."5a Though studies also show that open textbooks save students money -- one report estimated student savings of over $1.5 million dollars6 -- adoption of open textbooks remains low.7
The quality of open textbooks, like traditional textbooks, varies widely. Knowing reputable publishers can help. Some major universities have undertaken open textbook publishing initiatives, including Rice University's OpenStax, the State Univesity of New York (SUNY), and the University of British Columbia. Additionally, some open textbook collections, including the Open Textbook Library, include faculty reviews. These reviews can help ease and expedite decision-making when considering the adoption of an open textbook for a course.
Open textbooks offer several advantages. Whereas traditional textbooks often include data that can't be quickly updated, open textbooks are licensed to allow addition of material so that current information can be added to the text. Open textbooks are also licensed to be "remixed" so that information from a range of sources can be combined by instructors and shared with students.
In addition, while not all open textbooks include supplementary materials, some do. Related supplementary materials may also be available for free from an OER repository (such as oercommons.org), or may be available for a fee from other providers.
Not ready for an open textbook, or is one not available in your field? Instructors, place an extra copy of your textbook on course reserve in the library, making it available to individual students for loan periods of 2 to 24 hours.
Find Open Textbooks
Where to Find Open Textbooks
Open textbooks and supplementary materials are also available in repositories that include other kinds of OERs:
Open Textbooks in the News
Open Textbooks in the News
The University of Tennessee Libraries joined the Open Textbook Network, which "promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks,"
- Last Updated: Aug 3, 2017 3:51 PM
- URL: http://libguides.utk.edu/opentextbooks
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