Finding and using OER textbooks for teaching

Open textbooks are digital educational textbooks made freely and legally available for anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute to meet their course needs.

Studies investigating student success – as determined by factors such as course completion, course grades, GPA, or withdrawal rates – have demonstrated that students in courses utilizing open textbooks did as well or better than students in similar courses utilizing traditional, commercial textbooks (Clinton & Khan, 2019; Fischer, et al., 2015; Griffiths, et al., 2022).

If you are considering including an open textbook in a course, check out our list of searchable and browsable open textbook repositories. Often, associated course materials (videos, slides, tests, etc.) are also available.

The repositories listed below contain thousands of open textbooks, covering a variety of disciplines. There is some overlap, so you may find the same resource in multiple repositories.

Some of the most widely used open textbook repositories include:

We’re happy to help you search for and evaluate open textbooks or other open course materials. Contact us at gr-oer@wpi.edu for assistance!

References:

Clinton, V., & Khan, S. (2019). Efficacy of open textbook adoption on learning performance and course withdrawal rates: A meta-analysis. AERA Open, 5(3), Article 2332858419872212. https://doi.org/10.1177/2332858419872212

Fischer, L., Hilton, J., Robinson, T. J., & Wiley, D. A. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 27(3), 159–172. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-015-9101-x

Griffiths, R., Mislevy, J., & Wang, S. (2022). Encouraging impacts of an Open Education Resource Degree Initiative on college students’ progress to degree. Higher Education, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-022-00817-9

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