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Research on Open Textbook Adoption Efficacy
How Do I Evaluate OER?
As faculty, you assess textbooks against a set of criteria that reflects your long experience and knowledge of student needs. You do the same with OER, but there are a few additional considerations.
- Accessibility online: Are the web pages for the textbook accessible?
- Production options: Is the book available in more than one format? Printed? Bound? PDF?
- Platform compatibility: Is the textbook viewable and usable on both Macs and PCs?
- Delivery options: Is a bound copy available at a very low price? Will your bookstore be able to carry the printed version?
- Interactivity: If the online version includes interactive software or multi-media files, are they accessible and cross platform?
- Consistency between online and printed presentation
- Are the online and printed versions comparable in organization and basic appearance?
- Will you be able to identify locations in either with minimal confusion for students?
- Collateral material
- If there are test banks, interactives, or other enrichment materials, are they in a format you can use?
- Free or very inexpensive?
Examples of rubrics for evaluating OER are available below:
How Do I Adopt Open Textbooks?
Provide your students an alternative to expensive textbooks by following these steps:
- Find the right OER for your subject by going to the Find OER tab in this Guide and conduct an OASIS search. You can also take a look at the list of Open Textbook Collections to view the websites and repositories that contain OER. Try to familiarize yourself with the sources by going to their website.
- Search for the appropriate textbooks for your course.
- Review and evaluate the textbooks based on the content and whether it suits your teaching style and your students. See the box that outlines evaluation criteria.
- Decide if you want to use the textbook as is, edit, or modify the contents. One of the benefits of open textbooks is flexibility to customize them for specific course designs as much or as little as you desire. If you want to make edits or append content, make sure the licensing allows that. Different repositories will have different options for editing and publishing revised copies.
- Distribute to your students, selecting the best format for your class such as online, or downloadable PDF.
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