Did you know…?

That there are many repositories available to find Open Educational Resources such as textbooks, pictures, lesson plans, and more? For this challenge, we focus on how to find an open textbook to use in your teaching. Open textbooks are textbooks that are free to use, adapt, modify, and repurpose.  Importantly, they are free to students.  There are several well recognized open textbook collections, such as:

Many of the textbooks in these collections have been peer reviewed, so they are considered to be of good quality, but ultimately, you will need to evaluate the resources to determine if they will be a good fit for your learners and your course (in the same way you would evaluate a textbook produced by a publisher).

Examples of Open Textbooks

Peruse the below textbooks at your leisure to get a feel for what’s out there and how open textbook formats can vary!

Your Challenge….

For this challenge you will explore the BCcampus open textbook collection  and see if there is an open textbook that is relevant to your area of teaching.  There are currently 367 peer reviewed open textbooks and guides in the collection, and the number is continually growing.    

Task 1

Go to the BCcampus open textbook collection and find a textbook that is relevant to something that you teach. It is rare to find a single textbook that is a perfect match for your course, so look for something that has a chapter or two that might work! If you can’t find anything directly connected to your discipline, choose one that you are generally interested in. Watch this video walkthrough of how to find an open text (CC available):

How to search for OER in BCcampus Open Library video by Paula Demacio, Centennial College

Task 2

In the Padlet below:

  • Click on the “+” icon in the bottom-right corner to begin a new message;
  • Share the link to the textbook you found in the Padlet below, and;
  • Tell us how you would use it in your teaching!
  • You’re welcome to comment and begin a discussion on other posts. 🙂

Optional – Dig Deeper

This section has been added to provide you with some supplementary (and optional!) resources that will take you a bit deeper into the “searching for OER” topic. Joanna Blair, one of our fantastic Centennial librarians has created these two short videos that share some additional strategies for searching for OER. 

Watch this first video (three minutes) to learn more about OER repositories and how to search them for openly licensed material. It also demonstrates how to search OER Commons for OER material beyond textbooks (tutorials, lesson plans, activities, assignments, etc.).

Search tips for using OER repositories video by Joanna Blair, Centennial College

Transcript – OER Repositories: Search Tips

This next video (two minutes) will help you get specific with your search for OER. It covers:

  • Narrowing your search by looking for weekly topics
  • Using synonyms to improve results
  • Starting your search with OER repositories
Searching for OERs: Where to Start video by Joanna Blair, Centennial College

Transcript – Searching for OERs: Where to Start


This challenge was inspired by, and adapted from, The Open Education Challenge Series by Leva Lee and Tannis Morgan is licensed under CC BY 4.0.