Whether it’s President Obama’s plan for rating colleges based on their affordability or the College Affordability and Transparency Center’s College Scorecard developed by the US Department of Education, it seems like lots of people are focused on the rising costs of higher education these days. This week, I thought I’d offer some sites for open textbooks. These textbooks usually come at little to no cost to students and offer students a wide variety of digital formats to access the content (PDF, ePub, etc.). With the growing use of mobile devices on campus, adopting an open textbook might be a great way to reduce a student’s out of pocket expenses for a semester. Wondering whether an open textbook would be right for your course? Check out Educause’s 7 Things You Should Know about Open Textbooks.
Created by the university’s College of Education and Human Development, this online catalog houses openly licensed textbooks that were reviewed by faculty members. The site has catalogs over 80 complete textbooks in a variety of topics and content areas.
Developed by Rice University, this site provides easy access to peer-reviewed digital textbooks at no cost to students or instructors. While the library is small (only five books are currently offered), the plan is to build a comprehensive library of textbooks across disciplines. The beginning offerings include texts on Physics, Sociology, Biology and Anatomy & Physiology.
Organized through collaborative efforts between Carnegie Mellon University, Florida Virtual Campus and several other institutions, College Open Textbooks offers texts aimed primarily for community colleges and other 2-year institutions of higher education and the first two years of 4-year institutions. Texts offered through College Open Textbooks have been adopted nationwide by over 2000 different colleges and universities.
OER Commons serves as a one-stop shop for Open Educational Resources. The site includes over 600 open textbooks specifically designed for the post-secondary market. In addition to curating open resources, the site offers training to faculty and connections to state curricular standards for K-12 environments. It’s the ideal starting point for anyone interested in incorporated more open curricular materials in their classroom.
MERLOT offers over 2200 open textbooks developed by university faculty and available for free for students. With its focus on multimedia educational resources, MERLOT houses open texts that typically leverage animations and simulations that expand text-based instruction.