Open Textbooks Guide

This guide reviews selected Open Textbook initiatives and presents options for UMass Lowell.

Open Textbooks are commonly developed in these three ways:

1. Individuals or groups of collaborating authors can write and publish textbooks under a Creative Commons license, essentially placing the book in the public domain. UML instructors are encouraged to adopt appropriate Creative Commons texts; sample lists are here.

UML instructors can also write their own text, as shown here.

When adopted, a pdf or web-based version of the textbook is usually available free to students; while costs can accrue for a mobile version sold on iTunes or for a printed and bound copy supplied by an on-demand printer or bookstore, in black and white or in color.

2. A faculty member can select materials that fall under the Fair Use clause of the copyright law, and create a course packet. The packet would include articles in journals the library subscribes to, or single chapters of books the library owns. These packets are delivered free to students through a password-protected course reserve system. The packets may also include a selection of other web-based Open Educational Resources (OERs) published under the Creative Commons.

3. A faculty member can adopt an e-book that is already part of the library's collection, or that the library purchases specially, as the main or supplemental course text.


This guide reviews examples of all three approaches, as achieved by UMass Lowell, UMass Amherst, the University System of Georgia, and a few others.