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Open Educational Resources Committee @ GCC

What are Open Textbooks?

Open textbooks can be defined as "textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed." Typically open textbooks are available as a pdf, epub, or set of html pages that are available at no cost to students and instructors.

True open textbooks are licensed so that they can be freely printed, distributed, and even adapted with correct attribution. Vendors like Amazon and Lulu may be able to provide print copies of open texts, and they can be printed locally as well.

The Pressbook Power Play! ! !

Pressbooks is perhaps the most powerful tool GCC faculty have in their OER toolbox! 

Maricopa Open Digital Press Image

The Pressbooks Directory gives you access to nearly 6000 OER textbook titles in a wide range of disciplines.  And because Maricopa subscribes to Pressbooks in what is known as the Maricopa Open Digital Press, GCC Faculty can (within 5-10 minutes), copy one of these Pressbooks and embed it into your Canvas Course.  Moreover, this Pressbook will be yours to edit, remix, and modify as needed to fit the pedagogical needs of your classroom.

The Pressbook Power Play

This is what is known as the Pressbook Power Play.  If you would like an OER Librarian to help you tap into this power, please let us know!  However, this is something you can also do yourself through the following steps:

  1.  Find a Pressbook from the Pressbooks Directory
  2. Copy the URL of this Pressbook.
  3. Head on over to the Maricopa Open Digital Press and create your free account.
  4. Follow these directions to copy your Pressbook into your Maricopa Open Digital Press account.
  5. After the Pressbook is in your account, import it into your Canvas course. following these directions.

After that, you are done!  That said, you can directly edit your OER textbook directly in Canvas if you want to make any changes to it.


Additional OER Textbook Sources

Open Stax

If you're looking for OER that are packaged for use, OpenStax by Rice University is a good place to start. OpenStax specializes in creating materials for general education courses like Biology 101, Introduction to Sociology, and Calculus I-III. All textbooks have been peer-reviewed and vetted by the higher education community.

These books are openly licensed, meaning that you as an instructor can modify a book for your own course, if you so choose. Modifications, like added text, links, and videos, will show in a version that you create specifically for your class. OpenStax updates their textbooks over time and pairs each book with lists of added resources like slides and exercises that you can use in class. Some of these added resources are free while others are available for a fee.

Pressbooks Directory

Whether or not you use the Pressbooks Powerplay listed above, the Pressbooks Directory is a great place to find quality OER textbook content with nearly 6000 titles across a wide range of disciplines.

Open Textbook Library (OTL)

Open Textbook Library (OTL) is an initiative by the University of Minnesota intended to help faculty members quickly find and assess open textbooks in use at other institutions of higher education  The library has collected dozens of open textbooks that are currently in use at higher educational institutions or affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization. OTL also invites faculty reviews of the textbooks in the library.

Milne Open Textbooks

 Screenshot shows a sampling of Open SUNY textbooks








The Milne Open Textbooks project provides funding and support to faculty members in the State University of New York who wish to publish open textbooks. 

Sources with a variety of OER materials...

Mostly when folks think of OER, they think of textbooks.  That said, OER can be a variety of things... from videos, tutorials, handouts, lesson plans and more.  The sources below are fantastic places where you can find a variety of OER materials.  These can include textbooks, but also a wide variety of other materials...

Mason OER Metafinder (MOM)

The Mason OER Metafinder (MOM) helps you find Open Educational Resources. The OER Metafinder launches a real-time, simultaneous search across 21 different sources of open educational materials as you hit the Search button.


OASIS is a tool that searches some 155,000 records for open material. It is being developed at SUNY Geneseo's Milne Library.

oasis logo
Advanced Search

OER Commons

 Screenshot shows OER Commons logo








OER Commons allows you to search for open educational resources in a variety of types, educational levels, and subject areas. Try the Advanced Search option to locate textbooks released for college-level courses--or look for other materials to supplement texts. While you're in OER Commons, you may also want to take a look at its partnership with OpenStax to curate materials around general education courses. Consider joining a group if you would like to be involved. 

Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike License Tag

All guides are available under the CC-BY-NC-SA license.