Using an Open Textbook for your Course

Find a textbook

A good place to start would be to 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.

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 adapting an open textbook, check out our next section onĀ Adapt an Existing Open Textbook.

Distribute to your students

There are a number of ways in which you can do this.

  • If you’re using an open textbook, provide the link to the textbook to your students. They will have the option to select which file type they would like to download.
  • 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:
    • In your Blackboard course. Load the book files into your Blackboard site and make the books available to your students via the Learning Management System (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 the U of S Bookstore.

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.


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USask Open Textbook Authoring Guide - Ver.1.0 Copyright © 2016 by Distance Education Unit, University of Saskatchewan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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