INSTRUCTORS: Adopt an Open Textbook

2 Steps to Adopting an Open Textbook

If you are an instructor looking for an open textbook to assign to your class, here are some ways to go about using a textbook from the B.C. Open Collection.

First, BCcampus often receives questions from people outside of British Columbia about whether or not they can use textbooks in our collection. The answer is yes. You don’t have to be from British Columbia to use our open textbooks; open textbooks are not geographically limited. Anyone from Canada, the United States, or any other country in the world can use these resources.

Using an open textbook for your class

  1. Find the right textbook. Search the B.C. Open Collection or other OER repository.
  2. Review and evaluate to see if it matches your criteria based on content, presentation, online accessibility, production options, platform compatibility, delivery options, interactivity, consistency between online and printed versions, and available supplemental material (test banks, PowerPoints, etc.).  For more information, see Faculty Checklist for Evaluating Course Materials from Open Oregon Educational Resources.
  3. 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 non-derivative licence allows for modifications). If you are interested in modifying an open textbook, check out our section on how to modify an open textbook.
  4. Distribute to your students. There are a number of ways in which you can do this.
    • If you’re using a textbook from this site, provide the link to the textbook to your students. They can either 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, download copies of the book and put them on another site. Some examples of where book files can be added 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.
      • 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.
  5. Inform the bookstore or print shop on campus to see if print-on-demand copies of the book can be made available for students. Keep in mind that textbooks that have a specific non-commercial clause (CC BY-NC) cannot be sold with a markup or for profit. However, charging a modest cost-recovery fee for physical textbooks is legal.
  6. Inform the college or university library. Ask if a hard copy of the assigned open textbook can be added as a reference to the library stacks.
  7. Report open textbook adoptions to your institution, and to BCcampus through the Adoption Form.


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Adoption Guide - 2nd Edition Copyright © 2016-2019 by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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