Adopt an Open Textbook

3 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 BC 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

We have put together a review rubric (PDF) that covers some considerations you may want to consider as you evaluate the textbook (by the way, if you are reviewing a textbook for yourself and using this rubric, consider submitting your review to BCcampus. We pay faculty $250 for a textbook review).

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 license allows for that (every CC license except the non-derivative license 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 do this.

  • 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 Docs. Upload a copy of the book files to Dropbox or Google Docs and send your student 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.

Print copies

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 printshop 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.

Let us know

If you adopt an open textbook from the BC Open Textbook Colletion, tell us about it. Faculty adoption information is important to the long term viability of the open textbook project. Plus we will add you to a mailing list to inform you of when the textbook is being modified or additional resources are available for it.