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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Open Educational Resources Incentive Program

Adopting Open Textbooks

Several Guides have detailed outlines for adopting and modifying open textbooks in your course.

How Do I Adopt Open Textbooks?

In order to provide open textbooks to your students as alternatives to the textbooks they need to purchase, complete the following steps:

  1. Search for and examine the textbooks that are available through the various Open Textbook sources. Identify the textbooks that may be appropriate for your course.  [Note: not all subject areas and topics will have open textbook alternatives.]
  2. If you do find open textbooks that sound appropriate for your course, you will next need to review and evaluate both the content and quality of the material to ensure it will meet your needs.  Several guides are available detailing how to evaluation Open Education Resources.
  3. Determine if you want to use the textbook as is, or edit or modify the content prior to assigning it to your students. 
  4. Decide if you want to use the textbook as is, edit, or modify the contents. One of the benefits of open textbooks is you can use them as is, or customize them for specific course to meet both your teaching style and content needs. You do need to make sure the licensing will allow you to make edits or add content - this will depend on the source of the textbook. 
  5. Disseminate the open textbook to your students.

See also: Six Steps to Modifying an Open Textbook

Why Adopt an Open Textbook

How do I Create OER?

The major requirement to creating OER is to openly license your work but there are four major steps to creating and sharing OER in educational contexts.

  1. License your Work: Creative Commons Licenses and Copyright
    • By default, you hold the copyright for any presentation, video, website, or software that you create. You don’t need to register or include a © symbol, copyright happens at the point of creation. Copyright is "all rights reserved," which means if someone wants to download or copy documents or other content from the material, they can’t distribute that content to anyone else without the expressed permission of the copyright holder. Creative Commons licenses allow the copyright holder to change “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.” The copyright holder retains copyright, but clearly identifies conditions under which the general public may use the content.  (UMIch)
  2. Use openly licensed material: Find Open Textbooks
  3. Attribute others' materials appropriately.
  4. Share your work so that others may access it: Consider upload your work on INDIGO, UIC's institutional repository or an OER platform.