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What Are Open Textbooks?

Open textbooks are typically authored by faculty and published on the web with the support of universities or new commercial companies. This new business model enables free online access to textbooks.

Open textbooks are usually governed by Creative Commons licenses that enable users to download, customize or print the textbook without expressed written consent of the author. In contrast, new commercial companies provide free access to the textbook content online, while charging lower prices for print products and supplemental services.

The EDUCAUSE LEARNING INITIATIVE has provided a nice overview of the 7 Things You Should Know About Open Textbook Publishing (pdf) by Judy Baker and Jacky Hood from Foothill College (California Community College)

How Can I Find Open Textbooks? Easy!

MERLOT's collection has over 3,300 Open Textbooks. Click on a link to your subject area and you’ll get a hit list of Open Textbooks in different sub-disciplines. MERLOT’s indexing tools enable easy browsing and searching the entire collection of open textbooks.

Faculty Showcase

Matthew J. Holian

San Jose State University, California State University, CA

Matthew HolianeTextbook:
Principles of Microeconomics by Rittenberg and Tregarthen

Course Description:
Allocation of resources and distribution of income as affected by the workings of the price system and by government policies. Notes: May be taken concurrently or prior to Econ 1A. Meets the general education requirement for social science – human behavior, Area D-1.

Quote:
"A major motivation for me was certainly the desire to save students money. However I also want to make the material easy to access, for example, by sending students PDF documents, or by copying and pasting sections of the text into emails and so on. So it is not just that the books are free but they are also easy to access."

Learn How I Use This Open Textbook in My Course


Zvonko Hlsouek

California State University Long Beach, CA

Zvonko HisouekeTextbook:
College Physics by OpenStax College

Course Description:
Year course in introductory physics for non-majors. First semester considers properties of matter, mechanics, wave motion, and heat. Second semester considers electricity, light, and atomic and nuclear physics. Letter grade only (A-F). (Lecture 3 hrs, laboratory 3 hrs.)

Quote:
"It's very simple what motivated me to adopt OER. A publisher physics textbook fully bound is $250, a loose leaf book is $150, and the e-book is $120 or more. OpenStax College Physics is free to students online so the numbers tell the story."

Learn How I Use This Open Textbook in My Course


Mark Stoner

California State University, Sacramento, CA

Mark StonereTextbook:
Public Speaking by The Public Speaking Project

Course Description:
Theory and technique of public speaking. Emphasis on organizing, supporting, and clearly stating ideas. Practice in informative and persuasive speaking. Meets the general education requirement for oral communication, Area A-1.

Quote:
"I make use of textbooks as the basic source of content and use class time for activities that apply the content and practice skills. Therefore, I felt it was imperative that students had no excuse for not reading the course text."

"Further, I appreciated the fact that I didn't feel compelled to use every chapter to justify the high cost of a typical textbook. While I did end up using all the chapters, uses came organically from the course design, not a sense of compulsion. I value OERs for the freedom of choice, usability, adaptability, accessibility and convenience they provide. "

Learn How I Use This Open Textbook in My Course


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Visit the California Open Online Library Faculty Showcase for additional examples of faculty’s open textbooks adoption process.

Find Open Textbooks Related to a Book

Enter the ISBN of a book below to find related FREE open textbooks.

Find Free Textbooks Related to a Topic

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Find Free Open Textbook Supplements

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Learningpod and MERLOT provide free supplements that contain hundreds of practice, homework, and quiz questions aligned to open textbooks and courses. Students can use these to get extra practice, improve their understanding, and perform better on exams.

Click on the links below to get a list of workbooks and question sets in specific subject areas.

More about Learningpod and OER

Share Open Textbooks You’re Using or Authored

Are you using Open Textbooks you found on the web in teaching your students? Have you posted a free Open Textbook that’s available for others to use? We invite you to catalog the Open Textbook you use or authored in MERLOT. Your colleagues and students around the world will thank you!

IT’S EASY!

First: Become a member of MERLOT (It will take about 2 minutes and it’s FREE).

Second: Fill out the online form to Contribute a Material. (It will take about 4 minutes the first time and step-by-step instructions for contributing materials to MERLOT (PDF) are available).