10 Using an Open Textbook for Your Course
Find a textbook
Search the B.C. Open Textbook Collection. Many of the books in the collection have been reviewed by B.C. faculty. Read the reviews. Some of the books in the B.C. collection have come from other open textbook projects. For these books, you will see a link back to the original site where the book came from. Follow the link and learn more about where the book came from and how it was created.
Review and evaluate the textbook
BCcampus invites qualified textbook reviewers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon to review open textbooks in the B.C. Open Textbook Collection. An honorarium of $250 is paid to eligible and qualified individuals who complete, submit, and permit the open publication of their review for a textbook in the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.
Reviews posted about books in the B.C. Open Textbook Collection are intended to provide constructive, helpful feedback for instructors contemplating the adoption of one or more of these textbooks. Therefore, in order for a review to be approved, a reviewer should ensure that responses are:
- Accurate. Make sure that each of your responses answers the question asked.
- Comprehensive. Provide complete replies to each question. Avoid one- or few-word answers, and instead, explain why you chose a specific rating.
- Constructive. Whether a critique is positive or negative, frame your feedback in a respectful and helpful manner. Explain your answer so that both the potential user and author understand why you offer this feedback. If a response is negative, describe how this item can be improved.
- Concise. Whenever possible, provide an example from the reviewed textbook that illustrates your comment.
Decide if you want to use as is or modify it
One of the benefits of open textbooks is flexibility to modify and customize them for specific course designs as much or as little as you desire. If you want to make edits or append content, make sure the Creative Commons licence allows for that (every CC licence except the NoDerivatives licence allows for modifications). If you are interested in modifying an open textbook, check out our section on how to modify an open textbook.
Distribute to your students
There are a number of ways in which you can distribute your chosen open textbook.
- If you’re using a textbook from this site, provide the link to the textbook to your students. They will have the option to select which file type they would like to download, or they can purchase a low-cost printed version from the BCcampus print-on-demand service.
- Alternatively, you can download copies of the book and put them on another site. Some examples of where you could put your own copies of the book files are:
- Your institutional LMS (learning management system). Load the book files into your Moodle, Desire2Learn, Blackboard, or Canvas site and make the books available to your students via the LMS.
- Use an online file-sharing service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Upload copies of the book files to Dropbox or Google Drive and send your students the link to that copy.
- If you have a faculty website, put copies of the files on that website and send students to your website to download your copy of the textbook.
While most students will choose a free electronic version of the textbook, some may prefer a print copy. If you wish to make print copies of your book available, check with your institutional print shop to see if they have the ability to create print versions of the textbook on site for your students. Many institutional print shops can create low-cost printed versions of textbooks and make them available to students.
Keep in mind that textbooks that have a specific non-commercial clause (CC BY-NC) cannot be sold with a markup or at a profit. However, charging a cost-recovery fee for print textbooks is considered reasonable.
Report your adoption
Instructors in British Columbia who use an open textbook in the classroom are encouraged to complete and submit the BCcampus Adoption Form. Alternatively, inform the Ongoing Adoption Program contact at your institution.