Open textbooks are just like traditional textbooks except that the authors have decided to publish them under an open copyright license. Top universities like UC Davis, Rice University, and University of Minnisota house open publishing projects like LibraText, OpenStax, and the Open Textbook Library. These open textbooks and educational materials provide an exciting alternative to traditional books, saving students money and improving student success and retention.
The expansive permissions offered by the authors of open textbooks opens the door to new possibilities for both educators and students. Educators can remix and adapt textbooks to better suit the needs of their classrooms. Students can retain access to their course materials forever, without extra costs. Open textbooks are available to download for free online and for very low cost in print.
Open textbooks are just one example of Open Educational Resources (OER). In addition to books, OER includes open versions of study guides, practice tests, problem sets, exams, videos, and other classroom tools.