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Open Educational Resources: Open Textbooks

Guide for SPU faculty to use in considering, adopting, revising, evaluating, and creating OER for their courses.

What Are Open Textbooks?

Open textbooks are materials that are freely available, usually through a Creative Commons license, to download, modify, and print in various formats.

Why should faculty adopt an open textbook?

  • more affordable than commercially available textbooks
  • enable student education budgets to stretch further
  • faculty can readily customize open textbooks to better meet their local teaching and learning needs
  • provide pricing, flexibility and customization advantages that commercially available textbooks currently do not provide

Creating Open Educational Resources

Interested in creating your own open textbook or other open educational resources?

Connect with John Robertson in Educational Technology and Media.

Where Can I Find Open Textbooks?

Library e-books as Textbook Alternative

The SPU Library currently has access to over 270,000 e-books. Library e-books can be used as textbook alternatives or supplemental materials to enhance delivery of your course. Many are already available through library e-book subscriptions or you can suggest an e-book for purchase by contacting your liaison librarian.

Many SPU e-books allow unlimited simultaneous users, but verify before using an eBook for your course:

  1. Search in SPU Primo and limit to eBooks under Format
  2. Choose Online access and identify eBook source to determine # simultaneous users allowed:
  • for e-books with access of “view full text” (purchased individually by SPU Library) or from other publishers not listed below, check with your liaison librarian      
    • Unlimited simultaneous users:
      • Ebook Central Academic Complete
      • Wiley Online Ebooks
      • Oxford University Press Ebooks

*screenshot of results page in SPU Primo for Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics e-book with Online access link underneath book title.

  • Use the Permalink within SPU Primo to link directly to the e-book record. Include this direct, durable link within your Canvas course or syllabus. Most e-books also allow you to link directly to individual chapters, but you may need to include the library's EZproxy prefix ( For additional information about direct links, see the library's page on persistent links

*screenshot of SPU Primo book information for Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics showing Permalink option and view full text link under View It section  circled in orange.

Why Open Textbooks?

Research on Open Textbook Adoption Efficacy

OER Initiatives in Universities