What’s in a textbook?

book cover

Cover of Biology by OpenStax. CCBYv4.0

Rice University might say freedom. Freedom to teach in new ways. Freedom to learn affordably. Since 2012, Rice University has been getting it right with textbooks. What are they doing that’s different? Rice is listening to faculty and students alike to create and maintain high quality textbooks to meet everyone’s needs. They’ve created no-cost, turnkey, adaptable textbooks with ancillary materials and affordable online homework options. Their textbooks are licensed with a Creative Commons attribution license which allows for sharing and content flexibility. Rice University calls their textbooks OpenStax.

OpenStax textbooks are:

  • High quality textbooks authored by educators. They are peer reviewed and meet scope and sequence requirements for each course.
  • Free to legally post online, free to adapt, free to share. They will always be free.
  • Available in print for a small fee or print your own…you are allowed.
  • In partnership with educational technology companies to provide affordable online homework, adaptive learning environments and other products that are aligned with OpenStax textbooks.

If you are looking for an open textbook for your course, try starting with OpenStax. Although OpenStax is growing, it currently offers only about 45 textbooks across subjects in math, science, social science, and the humanities. Hundreds of repositories with open textbooks exist. So if OpenStax doesn’t have the textbook you need, there’s a chance another repository will.

Learn more on the GSU Library’s Open Education Guide. Or, contact Denise Dimsdale, Affordable Learning Georgia Library Coordinator, at the GSU Library. The GSU Library is happy to assist instructors with locating open educational resources, library resources, and other course content that provide affordable options for students and pedagogical flexibility for instructors.

About Denise George

Denise George is an Assistant Professor and the Education Librarian at Georgia State University. Her research interests include the evolving role of open and affordable course content in higher education. She holds an MMU from Georgia State University and an MLIS from Valdosta State University.
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