Open Educational Resources

Create an Open Textbook

Create Open Textbooks using Pressbooks

The Mount Library has access to Pressbooks--an open textbook publishing software--through our membership with the Council of Atlantic University Libraries (CAUL-CBUA), which recently launched the Atlantic Region Open Textbook Repository. Pressbooks allows authors to create and publish texts from scratch and integrates interactive tools like H5P, MathJax, Hypothesis, and more. Authors can also clone existing textbooks and then adapt them to suit their teaching needs (e.g. create a Canadian edition of a text).

For more information, please see the Atlantic Region Open Textbook Repository FAQs below. To set up a Pressbooks account, contact Lindsey MacCallum at lindsey.maccallum@msvu.ca

Atlantic Region Open Textbook Repository FAQ

What is an open textbook?

It is a textbook released with an open-copyright licence and made available online and in a variety of file types to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public.

Does using open textbooks affect student learning?

Most studies have found equal or improved student outcomes. A summary of current research on the impact of OER can be found at the OER Research Hub.

What is the level of quality of open textbooks?

Open textbooks are developed and reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality and most are vetted through a traditional peer review process. Here is an example of a book record that includes a peer review.

How do I create/adapt an open textbook?

Through the Atlantic Open Educational Resources (Atlantic OER) initiative, CAUL-CBUA provides access to Pressbooks, a digital authoring and publishing platform that enables educators to create/adapt open textbooks for their courses.

Can an open textbook be linked from within my course page on my institution’s Learning Management System (LMS)?

Yes, each book, chapter, and section has a permanent, customizable link that can be added to any LMS.

Can I integrate applications such as H5P and Hypothesis, MathJax, and TablePress when creating/adapting my open textbook on Pressbooks?

Yes, Pressbooks supports integration with many plugins (Hypothesis, MathJax, TablePress), the creation of interactive content through H5P, and tracking of usage through Google Analytics.

Can I integrate grade pass-back between my book and my course in the LMS?

Pressbooks uses learning tools interoperability (LTI) to enable users to embed Pressbooks content within an LMS interface in Canvas and Moodle and have it appear natively. This is an optional add-on for each institution.

Can I collaborate with other educators to create/adapt an open textbook?

Yes! Working with others to create a common textbook that you all use for your courses is one of the great benefits of the open textbook model. You can have an unlimited number of collaborators working on a common textbook using Pressbooks.

What are Creative Commons licenses?

Creative Commons licenses are customizable copyright licenses that work alongside copyright law to give explicit permission for users to reuse items under specific circumstances. Applying a Creative Commons license to your work changes the familiar "All rights reserved" to "Some rights reserved," with explicit rules about what can and cannot be done with the item.

Won't I be infringing on copyright if I use these materials?

Open textbooks are licensed to allow reuse and revision. Terms of the licenses will vary so be sure to read the license thoroughly.

Can students print an open textbook?

Most open textbooks can be downloaded as a PDF and printed with a standard desktop printer. Educators can also connect their book to a commercial printing service or use the printing services at their institution.

Will it cost students anything?

Accessing an open textbook online is free and students can also print pages or chapters on their own. If students would like to order a complete printed copy there is a nominal cost.

Can I use the textbook on mobile devices?

The webbook interface is built to be responsive to all screen sizes: mobile, desktop, or tablet. The design includes several features to help readers as they work through the text.

Is there any money to help fund the creation of open textbooks?

Yes! Look for more information soon about incentivization grants for individuals and group sprints.

What kind of support is available to help me create/adapt an open textbook?

Each institution has a designated contact for support; for the Mount, it's Librarian Lindsey MacCallum. CAUL-CBUA is also developing an OER Toolkit (guides, videos, webinars, etc.), as well as grants to support individuals and group sprints.

FAQs adapted in part from SPARC's FAQ: Open Educational Resources (CC-BY), the Open Textbook Library’s FAQ, BCcampus Open Education Adaptation Guide (CC-BY), BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide (CC-BY), & eCampus Ontario’s Open Textbook Library FAQ. Atlantic Region Open Textbook Repository FAQ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

How to use Pressbooks

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Creative Commons License
You may copy the guide as long as credit is included. We encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials. Please be aware that many of our guides contain links to subscription-based services for which access is restricted, and collections of resources that may have additional rights reserved. Please consult the licenses and terms of use for each resource.