Be part of a growing movement to change education!
Please consider assigning an Open Textbook for your fall semester classes. We’ll provide everything you need with just one click.
An Open Textbook is licensed openly, so it’s free for you to use, re-use, modify, and adapt to fit your course requirements.
Open Textbooks are flexible for educators and free for students, offer interactive learning experiences, come with a community of your peers on the cutting edge of education innovation. They are an affordable, flexible alternative to traditionally-published textbooks.
The BCcampus Open Textbook Toolkit is your starting point on how to change education with just one textbook. It provides a list of our open textbooks, information and guidelines for adopting and assigning an open textbook.
About Open Textbooks in B.C.
In October 2012, the BC Ministry of Advanced Education announced its support for the creation of open textbooks for the 40 highest-enrolled first and second year subject areas in the province’s public post-secondary system. BCcampus is tasked with co-ordination of the project because of our 10-year experience funding open educational resources (OER) through the Online Program Development Fund.
The goal of the Open Textbook Project is to provide flexible and affordable access to higher education resources in B.C. by making open textbooks available for use by B.C. faculty, and digital versions of the texts are free of charge to faculty and students. Printed copies are also available on demand for a low cost.
High-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks ready to use now
The following textbooks have been rated 4 or higher (out of 5) by your peers in the British Columbia higher education system and are available for download now:
Download, use, re-use and remix: The following are individual .zip files containing all files file necessary to edit and use, re-use or remix, with the exception of fonts. Requires Helvetica Neue font. Created in InDesign CS6 format.
Find open and free textbooks that may be suitable for use in college/university courses from the following list. For descriptions of these open textbooks, see listings in MERLOT and OER Commons. Most of the textbooks on this list have Creative Commons (CC) open licenses or GNU-Free Document License. Others are U.S. government documents in the public domain (PD).Many other textbooks are free to view online but are NOT OPEN for reuse and customization. See Copyrighted Digital Textbooks for a list of learning content without open licenses.
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are the future of education, and that learners and educators everywhere benefit from their proliferation and use.The goals of OERs include defining OERs, demonstrating how to create and interact with them, and exploring how to include them in the teaching and learning processes.These OERs are openly licensed for reuse, usually through a Creative Commons license, which allows them to be integrated into any type of learning environment, including being printed and bound.
Recognize the different types and formats of Open Educational Resources and determine which are appropriate for their own Open Educational Resource development.
Apply an understanding of free and open-access materials and peer production to their own Open Educational Resource development.
Efficiently locate existing Open Educational Resources.
Integrate existing Open Educational Resources into their own Open Educational Resource development.
Construct an Open Educational Resource that assures copyright laws and ADA have been addressed.
Choose and apply a Creative Commons License to their Open Educational Resource and understand the philosophy of sharing content.
Apply and/or publish an Open Educational Resource within a classroom environment and/or repository.
Accurately tag and/or establish the metadata for an Open Educational Resource.
You will be able to locate, modify, and/or develop, and effectively tag Open Educational Resources that will be integrated into the classroom or submitted to an Open Educational Resource repository.
Module:1 What is Open?
Open education, including Open Educational Resources, Open Textbooks, Peer Production, and Open Universities
Describe what an open textbook is and how it can be used.
Describe the peer production process and how it contributes to openness.
Explore the concept of open universities and the various definitions of “open” in that context.
There is a lot of confusion over the differences between the terms “free” and “open,”when we use the term “free,” it means no financial exchange for the product or service. Some see “free” as in “freedom”; however, most people associate it with no charge, and this is usually the best interpretation of a service or resource that is labeled as “free.”
Open encompasses both “free” (as in no charge, as discussed above) AND free as in freedom to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute (the four R’s).
What is an Open Educational Resource? Why is the OER movement growing in popularity so quickly? Why would you want to use or create OER materials? How do you license OER materials?
In the first of this OER webinar series, Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons, will answer these questions and more in an interview by Mitchell Levy, CEO of Happy About. Cathy is formerly the Director of OER Initiatives at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She was also Senior Partner and the Vice President for Innovation and Open Networks at the Carnegie Foundation. Several OER collections will be reviewed including College Open Textbooks, Connexions, MERLOT and SoftChalk CONNECT.
Open Textbooks: A Brief Overview
Module:2 Creative Commons and Copyright
Develop an understanding of Copyright and Fair Use
Differentiate how and when to use the different types of CC licenses
Describe the decision making process related to selecting the “right” tool for the content and application
Discuss attribution and what needs to be considered when using work that has been licensed under CC
Use the CC license chooser when creating open content
Practice combining or “remixing” different types of open content
Copyright for Open Educational Resources
Selecting the Correct Creative Commons License
Module:3 Locating and Evaluating Open Educational Resources
Explore how to locate open educational resources.
Explore the difference between an OER repository and a OER list.
Evaluate open educational resources.
Perform an OER search and share the results of his/her findings.
Finding and Using OER: The Where and the When
Where can you find quality OERs? Where are they distributed, and where and when should you use them? Are they easy to find? What kind of standards (quality, accessibility, licensing) are relevant and why are they important?
How to use a variety of platforms to create open content
How to incorporate OER into your curriculum
The steps you need to follow when creating open content
Things to be consider,
Creating new open content vs. remixing content
Before you begin to create open educational resources, it is important to understand the difference between between licensing content you have created entirely on your own and licensing content that is a remix of other works (peer produced).
Creating your own content:
What are you creating?
Who are you creating it for?
How are you creating it?
How open will it be? (keep in mind the technology you use to create an OER)
Creating content that includes works from others (Remixing):
The biggest concern when remixing is making sure that the items you are mixing together are licensed in a way that is compatiblewith each other.
Questions to ask:
Does the item you want to use have an open license (ie. creative commons, GNU)?
Are all of your items licensed in a way that are compatible with each other?
How will you license your new remix so that it is a legal license?
This takes a little practice to understand. For example, CC-BY-SA can’t be remixed with CC-BY-SA-NC. If you’re not sure why not, you may want to consider completing Pursuit 2: Copyright and Creative Commons before completing this pursuit. There you will find an OER Remix game developed by David Wiley that will allow you to practice your OER mixing skills.
Creating OER: The WHO and the HOW
These questions, and more, will be answered by Rob Abel from IMS Global and others. In addition we will discuss different models for developing OER materials and demonstrate various authoring tools for creating OER content. Models for OER development will include work by the math department at the College of the Redwoods. You will also see how Jacqui Cain from Tacoma Community College, as part of a Bill and Melinda Gates foundation grant, re-purposed Sherlock Holmes stories to create a full online course in Remedial English.
Who is developing OERs? Who should be? How are they doing it? How can standards allow OER content interoperability? How can standards assure quality? How can I get started? How can I find the tools for creating OER content?
Audio and Podcasts:
Audio resources are an excellent alternative (or complement) to text resources. When integrated correctly, they enhance the learning experience by providing a quick reference for students and a personal touch to the subject matter.
Audio files are commonly referred to as podcasts. The term ‘podcast’ is a hybrid of two words: iPod, referencing Apple’s mp3 player, and broadcast. However, an iPod is not required to listen to a podcast. A podcast is simply a broadcast of a digital recording that is made for downloading or streaming to a personal computer or portible electronic device (1). Typically, audio files prepared for delivery for podcasts are encoded (compressed) using the .mp3 compression algorithm.
Audio resources can either be created by the instructor or the instructor can choose to integrate existing open-licensed audio files into courses.
There are many free services that allow users to easily create podcasts. One of the most popular open source applications is audacity, which is used in tandem with the LAME mp3 encoder.
Here is an excellent Youtube video that covers the installation process for Audacity:
Also, there are a number of other Audacity and LAME tutorials available on YouTube.(2)
Once created, audio files can be given a Creative Commons license and submitted to an OER repository. Not sure what Creative Commons is? Consider completing the ‘Creative Commons’ pursuit within this course and then using/producing CC licensed music files in/for your OER.
A screencast is a video recording of computer desktop activity that may also include narration. Narrated screencasts can be integrated into instruction to provide step-by-step procedural guidance in using software applications.(3)
A sampling of free screencasting software includes:
Since these files can be quite large, it’s important to consider how they will be hosted.
“Hosted” means the location where the audio file will be stored. When working within higher education, how audio files are hosted will vary by institution. Some institutions have streaming servers for audio and video, while others provide alternative space for faculty to store files. However, in most cases audio files should never be stored directly within a learning management system like ANGEL or Blackboard, as this inflates the size of the course and makes it difficult to work with.
A third option that is institution-agnostic is to host audio files within the cloud. The “cloud” (or cloud computing) refers to the use of networked facilities for the storage and processing of data rather than a user’s local computer. Access to files, data or services is typically done via the Internet. (4) So, in short, audio files can be developed, stored, and accessed within applications that automatically host and stream the content.
Services that allow for the easy storage of MP3 podcasts include:
Ipadio is especially useful because it allows users to create broadcasts from their phones. It also automatically transcribes the podcast, allowing users to post a transcript of the session (thereby ensuring accessibility for all). Read more about audio, video and accessibility here.
iTunes isn’t listed above because it acts as a directory service, providing listing updates for podcasts, rather than actually hosting audio files. See the iTunes “making a podcast” documentation for more information on RSS feeds (XML files that the iTunes Store processes in order to create podcast listings)
Many of the concepts in this section of the pursuit mirror those within the previous page (Audio and Podcasts). The following resources are provided to assist you in producing the highest quality multimedia OERs as possible, as well as ensuring that they are accessible to all learners.
Searching for Images
There are a number of ways to locate high-quality images that are licensed for reuse. The best way to start is with a Creative Commons search:
It is important to note, however, that search.creativecommons.org is not a search engine, but rather offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations. CC has no control over the results that are returned. Do not assume that the results displayed in this search portal are under a CC license. You should always verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link. Since there is no registration to use a CC license, CC has no way to determine what has and hasn’t been placed under the terms of a CC license. If you are in doubt you should contact the copyright holder directly, or try to contact the site where you found the content.
Flickr also has a portion of its site devoted to Creative Commons licensed images. These images are sorted by license type, and are easily searchable. Many are also editable using the tips provided below; just be sure to check the license before altering and re-licensing an image:
Finally, Google’s advanced search features will also allow you to isolate Creative Commons licensed images. For a detailed tutorial on the three search types listed in this pursuit, view the video below:
Though this topic does not technically fall under the OER umbrella, you may find these tips on composition, display, etc. useful as you begin your journey creating OER images:
Once you have taken your photos or located your photos using the search tips provided above, you may want to edit your photos to better suit your needs before licensing or re-licensing. Here are some suggestions for photo editing software (Please note that not all of these programs are free or open. You will need to determine which is a proper fit for your needs).
– (video) should be providing the visual counterpart of the literary essay, should arouse our dreams, satisfy our hunger for beauty, take us on journeys, enable us to participate in events, present great drama and music, explore the sea and the sky and the woods and the hills. It should be our Lyceum, our Chautauqua…and our Camelot. (E.B. White, 1966)
Like images, there are many ways to locate quality video that is licensed under a Creative Commons license. As with images, the best place to start is with a Creative Commons search of Youtube or Vimeo, two of the most popular sources for videos on the web: http://search.creativecommons.org/
Remember that search limitations apply (as discussed above in ‘Images’). It is always the responsibility of the user to determine whether or not the desired content is available under a Creative Commons license that allows for reuse and/or adaptation.
In addition to a Creative Commons search, there are a number of video databases that contain video licensed for reuse and/or adaptation. However, it is important to remember that not all the videos on these sites are usable in OER.
Video Lectures – Hundreds of on-demand video lectures, most of which are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 license
Anyone can create a video using a digital recorder, camera, or phone and then upload it to Youtube or Vimeo, but open source video editing options are very limited at the moment. Those services that do exist are very limited and often produce poor quality results. We encourage members of the OER community to offer their experiences with using open source video editing software in the Community Area of the course (use the course menu to navigate to this area). We will continue to update this section of the course as we obtain new information on the topic.
Creating Accessible Video and Audio
User accessibility must be considered when creating and licensing OER videos so that users all are able to access the information contained therein. A brief overview of the basic principles of creating accessible audio and video can be found here. The page also discusses a number of solutions for the closed captioning and/or transcription of audio and video.
If you are interested in creating an open course, you must first find a platform in which to place your content. A good place to start is wikieducator. They offer free workshops throughout the year related to the development of content in the wiki and the CC license. They have a large support network and will be there for you every step of the way.
You might also consider an open source or free Learning Management System, such as Blackboard’s Coursesites (the LMS used for this course), Canvas, or Moodle. It is important to review the features of each of these systems to determine which would be important to you. You can read more about our choice of Coursesites for this open coursehere.
By now you’ve realized it is easy to get overwhelmed. There is so much out there that you may suddenly feel you are drowning in information, resources and tools. Take your time, start simply and pick the resources and tools you feel comfortable with. When creating your course, start with the traditional steps. First, think about who your audience will be. Who do you expect to enroll in your course? Is it meant to be used within your college or will you open it up like a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)?
Create a general outline of how you envision the course progressing, learning activities and what content you want to include. Then, slowly starting exploring what content is available and think about what tools you might want to use.
Another thing to keep in mind is the interest and demand for the development of OER as a way to make education more accessible. There are several grant opportunities available such as the Hewlett Foundations Grantseekers program.
Listen to this Google Hangout with Carol Yeager and Betty Hurley-Dasgupta from Empire State College as they discuss their experiences with developing and offering open courses and MOOCs: