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Open Education

State of the Textbook: A Quick Introduction

Author John Green provides a brief introduction to the current state of textbooks:

"Americans spent over 10 billions dollars last year on textbooks, which is significantly more than we spent on all fiction. Like, every print book and eBook and audio book of Harry Potter and the Great Gatsby and Goodnight Moon and those thrillers your dad reads".

"So textbooks are expensive", and what can we do about it? With OER, textbooks and other resources can be used to make learning not just accessible, but engaging."

"Say to a teacher, there's 400 million openly licensed materials in the world; go draw from any of them...create your own material if you want to, put that together in a way that you know is best going to help your students...that's just terrifically empowering- David Wiley, "Why open textbooks are the way forward"

What Are Open Textbooks?

Open Textbook: a textbook with an open copyright license that allows the material to be freely accessed in digital formats, shared and adapted. Many open textbooks are accompanied by ancillary resources such as question banks, slides, instructor manuals, and adaptive quizzing platforms.

Open License: a license that allows instructors to adopt, remix, or customize existing open textbooks to maximize instructional content to meet their own learning objectives

Many open textbooks are developed through traditional peer review, others are vetted by experts.  As with any textbook, the instructor is the final judge of whether an open textbook meets the needs of the course. 

To learn more about open education, check out this great overview by BCcampus.

Free the Textbook

Image: Opensourceway / CC BY-SA