Finding Open Textbooks
During the course of this week, please explore the different repositories and referatories. As you search for open textbooks, post your thoughts about the different repositories and referatories in the discussion forum. Were you able to find what you needed? Was the material peer reviewed? Did the review help you evaluate the material? Were there other devices in place to help you find & evalute the content?
Repositories are storage site for open textbooks and other open educational resources. Textbook authors upload their textbook to the repository where it is then stored and made available for others to download. Respositories also allow the authors to add metadata to the textbook so that the book can be searchable by other systems and repositories. Repositories are not limited to textbooks, and often contain other Open Educational Resources. While this makes repositories a rich source of resources, it can also make them somewhat unwieldy as they can contain thousands of resources.
Repository Tip: Take advantage of user accounts.
Most repositories let you create a user account which then gives you access to more tools that can be very useful. For example, most repositories have editing tools available for people who have user accounts allowing you to edit the resources in the collection. As well, you can often create custom collections or bookmark to keep track of resources you find while browsing the repositories.
MERLOT is one of the first and largest OER repositories. MERLOT is a program of the California State University System.
In addition to being an OER repository, Connexions is also a content management system that has tools for educators to build and customize content within its repository. Connexions is also home to the OpenStax College project, which has produced a number of very popular, high quality open textbooks.
SOLR is the BCcampus repository of open educational resources. Much of the material in this collection are resources that have been created by BC post-secondary educators through the Online Program Development Fund (OPDF).
OER Commons helps educators, students, and lifelong learners find Open Educational Resources through a single point of access from which they can search, browse, and evaluate resources in our growing collection of over 42,000 high-quality OER. Like Connexions, OER Commons also has a built in content editor called OpenAuthor that allows you to create and remix existing OER.
Referatories are different than repositories. Textbooks are not stored in a referatory. Instead, the referatory contains some basic information about the textbook, and then a link to where you can download the original textbook from. Referatories are very good at solving the problem of too many resources becuase they are often curated collections that focus specifically on textbooks.
Open is the referatory that has been set up to support the BC Open Textbook project. The collection currently sits at 28 books that align with the top 40 subject areas in BC. Many of these textbooks have been reviewed by BC post-secondary faculty and the reviews are publicly visible along with the book.
College Open Textbooks
College Open Textbooks Collaborative is a collection of twenty-nine educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. In addition to being a referatory for open textbooks, there is also a community of educators who are working with open textbooks which you may want to join if you are interested in connecting with others working with open textbooks.
Open Textbook Library from the University of Minnesota
A program of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, this is a curated catalog of open textbooks.
Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) is a joint effort by individual community colleges, regional and statewide consortia, the Open Courseware Consortium, the American Association for Community Colleges, the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges, and many other educational partners to develop and use open educational resources, open textbooks, and open courseware to expand access to higher education and improve teaching and learning.