Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Open Textbooks and Materials for Open Source Education

Open Textbooks can save lots of money if you use them well – but they can also be much more expensive than traditional textbooks if you implement them poorly. Utah Open Textbook project has built an open textbook cost-saving calculator from closely monitoring the costs of deploying open textbooks, go to the webpage and input some scenarios for the numbers. The second half of this research, which will compare the standardized test scores of students using open textbooks with those of students using traditional textbooks, here is A Preliminary Examination of the Cost Savings and Learning Impacts of Using Open Textbooks in Middle and High School Science Classes(released June, 2012). There is no apparent differences in the results of students who used open textbooks compared with previous years when the same teachers’ students used traditional textbooks.

OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. The free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course. It is an initiative of Rice University. Free online and low-cost in print, OpenStax College books are built for today’s student budgets. The dynamic, interactive iBooks textbook version of College Physics costs $4.99 in the iBookstore and contains interactive graphics, videos, quizzes, demos, , the first iBooks textbook that is based on a free, open-source textbook.

College Open Textbook is a collection of sixteen educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. This includes providing training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, and mentoring online professional networks that support for authors opening their resources, and other services.

The state of Washington launched the Open Course Library, a collection of open source textbooks for the state’s 81 most popular college courses.

Open Textbooks provided by the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources include more than 500 open textbooks in a variety of subjects.

Open Textbook List is the information about some of the top examples of open textbooks, which are college texts offered online under a license that allows free digital access, low-cost print options and customization by instructors. It’s from Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups) which organizes college students to solve some of the world’s most pressing public interest problems. offers free, automated, self-paced courses in twelve popular disciplines -chosen based on high-enrollment majors in U.S. colleges.  Saylor hired over 170 credentialed professors to create course outlines and to locate, vet and organize open educational resources (e.g. MIT OCW, Yale Open Courses, etc.) into a structured and intuitive format to enable asynchronous learning. Each course culminates with a final exam.

Free Digital Textbook Initiative has a collection of free and open textbook resources that are aligned to California content standards.

Connexions – Hosted by Rice University, a vast online database of  education module from elementary schoool to post-graduate level (mostly secondary and post-secondary)

Flat World Knowledge – The largest publisher of free and open college textbooks for students worldwide, its open license and online editing platform let professors can create their own textbooks.

California Open Source Textbook Project (COSTP) is a collaborative, public/private undertaking created to address the high cost, content range, and consistent shortages of K-12 textbooks in California.

Wikibooks – the wikimedia community for creating free education textbooks that anyone can edit or add to; Wikijunior is for elementary level; there are 2,342 books with 35,708 pages as Jan.31,2011; Some examples of particular interest to K-12 include: High School Mathematics Extensions, Geometry of Elementary School, and basic Spanish and Physics classes.

Open Culture has a collection of 150 free textbooks from Art History to Physics and Business.

Bookboon provides over a thousand free online textbooks for students to download in PDF format, no login is needed. A range of subjects are available, and content is presented at a university level. Bloggers even can embed textbook download links in their web pages so that readers can download them without leaving the websites.  Bookboon also allows educators to create, publish and share their own eTexts. (How is this possible? Their revenue comes from the advertisement fee of the future employers of the college students.)

Florida Orange Grove is Florida’s Digital Repository of electronic texts and instructional resources.  Visit the Orange Grove, and select the “log in as guest” link. Click “Browse Collections” and then select the Open Textbooks Collection.  You can search for items by keywords, titles, and author names, or browse the textbooks.  Additional textbooks are available through Orange Grove Text Plus, a partnership of the Florida Orange Grove and the University Press of Florida.

OER Matrix, a collection of college-level OER links, organized by course and by repository. The OER Matrix Google spreadsheet is available for viewing and editing. It’s organized by Washington State Colleges.

FreeReading – a open source research-based pK-6 reading intervention program, it’s adopted by the state of Florida in 2008 as a state-approved pK-6 supplemental reading program.

Curriki – a hub for free, open course materials, find thousands of course materials in a variety of subjects and grade levels, including lesson plans, free courses, textbooks, and teacher community

CK12 Flexbooks – Free, open textbooks with a focus on high school STEM; it’s customizable and standards-aligned.

Hippocampus/NROC – High school online courses with lots of multimedia ; it’s from the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). Content for the courses was developed by college and university faculty and donated to the National Repository of Online Courses, which is also operated by MITE. The Hippocampus site allows educators to set up custom pages for their students.

OER Commons (Open educational resources,o.e.r) – find free-to-Use Teaching and Learning Content from around the World. Grade K-20, stronger in higher ed; all subjects; all media types. It offers opportunities for systemic change in teaching and learning through accessible content, and importantly, through embedding participatory processes. With contents coming from trusted individuals and organizations, it is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, ISKME, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education.

Free High School Science Textbooks  and Powerpoint Presentation – an extensive collection of free high school math and physical sciences

BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium – These open educational resources are designed to help high school and college students study biology by posing and solving problems and communicating with peers.

The Math Open Reference – This free interactive math textbook prototype covers high school geometry and plans to expand to other areas of math. The interactive books promise to include text, interactive quizzes, digital manipulatives and more.

Utah Open Textbook Project – Demonstrating the Cost Effectiveness and Educational Effectiveness of Open Textbooks, made possible by support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Brigham Young University Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling, and the Brigham Young University Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology.

Open Math may be mostly college level.

PhET: Interactive Simulations – Fun, interactive, research-based simulations on physics, chemistry, biology from the PhET project at the University of Colorado.

The ChemWiki project is a collaborative approach from UC Davis toward chemistry education where an Open Access textbook environment is constantly being written and re-written partly by students and partly by faculty members resulting in a free Chemistry textbook. Other Dynamic Textbook Project STEMWikis include the BioWiki, the GeoWiki, the StatWiki, the PhysWiki and the MathWiki.

Open Source Physics is an online curriculum resource, created and edited by a group of college professors, that provides students new ways to understand and predict physical phenomena through computational physics and computer modeling. For students who learn best by exploring and doing versus just reading this is an outstanding resource.

The WikiPremed MCAT Course is a free comprehensive course in the undergraduate level general sciences. Undergraduate level physics, chemistry, organic chemistry and biology are presented by this course as a unified whole within a spiraling curriculum.

Biofundamentals – developed at the University of Colorado, Boulder, it’s designed to be used with an interactive teaching style, with students working with various tutorial assignments out of class, and then in class discussion. The materials are designed to replace expensive, pedagogically weak textbooks. By integrating Highlighter, students are able to engage fully with all the materials — the syllabus as well as the readings. They can leave comments, ask questions, and save and share key passages. is a free, not-for-profit, multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement (or even substitute) for the traditional art history textbook. There are videos lessons, VoiceThread lessons, and audio lessons about eras and themes in art history, they can be browsed by artist name, style of work, theme, or time period.

The Writing Spaces offers a platform for instructers to publish shorter texts and collaborate with colleagues on longer work to aim at  a library of quality open textbooks.

The Open Resource Page from the Kansas State Department of Education which oversees k-12 education in Kansas. It contains open access resources and digital textbooks that are available within the public domain. They are not copyrighted and may be customized, modified, or combined with other materials.

Worldwide Mathematics offers free mathematics textbooks in Calculus and Mutli-Variable Calculus, and includes free lecture series to accompany the content.

BLOSSOMS is a free repository of videos for high school math & science classes created by gifted volunteer teachers from around the world, seeded initially by MIT faculty members and by partnering educators in Jordan and Pakistan.

Free High School Science Texts – an extensive collection of free science and mathematics texts that are available to students, world wide.

HelpingwithMath – The math worksheets , the printable multiplication tables, the math charts, the multiplication games, and other resources are completely free. It’s an OER site.

Kids Open Dictionary – open dictionary with a glossary builder that exports to multiple formats

Karl Fisch’s algebra movies – instructional videos for high school algebra

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16 Responses »

  1. Why aren’t there textbooks, whether electronic or hard copy, available in other languages, especially in Spanish. We need these resources in California?


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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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