Monday, January 28, 2013

OER: 12 Sources of Open Textbooks

Brigham Young University faculty survey seeks ...
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With the State Department's announcement and posts on twitter about failed business models, I think this is a good time to revisit how to find actual free, openly licensed textbooks. There are many ways to find free, openly licensed textbooks on the internet. I have listed a dozen here, but if you are still not finding what you need, feel free to contact me. I really mean that. I think making education financially accessible to your students is just that important. Some of these resources over lap, but that is okay - you will find some of these sites easier to use than others. There are a lot of things happening in the world of open textbooks. A lot of the criticisms that you may have heard in the past are fading away as sites dedicated to the peer review and vetting of open textbooks become more prevalent. This is not the definitive list - if there is a site that you use or prefer, please post a comment and share.

1. Saylor Foundation
Each of the books listed below is freely available for download, online reading, and sharing, under one of various open licenses.

2. OpenStax
"OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course."

3. MERLOT
"Putting educational innovations into practice. Find peer reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Share advice and expertise about education with expert colleagues. Be recognized for your contributions to quality education."

4. College Open Textbooks
If you run into any links to Flat World Knowledge textbooks here, be sure to go to the Saylor Foundation website to get free access to those titles. "College Open Textbooks has peer-reviewed more than 100 open textbooks for use in community college courses and identified more than 550: College Open Textbooks has already peer-reviewed several new open textbooks for use in community college courses and identified more than 250 others for consideration. Open textbooks are freely available for use without restriction and can be downloaded or printed from web sites and repositories."

5. Connexions
"Connexions is a dynamic digital educational ecosystem consisting of an educational content repository and a content management system optimized for the delivery of educational content. Connexions is one of the most popular open education sites in the world. Its more than 17,000 learning objects or modules in its repository and over 1000 collections (textbooks, journal articles, etc.) are used by over 2 million people per month."

6. Textbook Revolution
"Textbook Revolution is a student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors. We want to get these materials into classrooms. On this site you'll find links and reviews of textbooks and select educational resources. Some of the books are PDF files, others are viewable online as e-books, or some are simply web sites containing course or multimedia content."

7. Community College Consortium for Open Education Resources
"The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement encourages the creation and reuse of free, high-quality content and open source learning systems to replace expensive and proprietary systems. By promoting OER, community colleges can create sustainable academic resources for students and provide collaborative professional development opportunities for faculty."

8. Boundless Textbooks
"Boundless is pleased to offer open introductory textbooks in the following subjects. These textbooks are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license, which means anyone is welcome to quote, mashup, reuse, and republish any portion of any book, anywhere, so long as proper citation is given."

9. Wikibooks
Wikibooks is an "open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit" with over 2,500 open-content textbooks.

10. Open Culture
A meta-collection of free textbooks.

11. Bookboon
"Online Textbooks for Free Bookboon's free online textbooks for students are focused and to the point. They are all written by highly respected professors from top universities in the world and cover topics such as economics, statistics, IT, engineering and natural science."

12. Directory of Open Access Books
"The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. Aggregators can integrate the records in their commercial services and libraries can integrate the directory into their online catalogues, helping scholars and students to discover the books. The directory will be open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards."
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