Open (Free) Textbooks: Adopting Open Textbooks

Information and instruction for MP lecturers/teachers about locating, evaluating, and adapting or adopting free textbooks for their subjects, courses or students

Adopting open textbooks

Adoption of an open text applies when you opt to use the text "as-is".  You choose to take the text and use it, without making any changes to it.

Adapting open textbooks

When you find an open text that you wish to use, but you also want to change it to suit your local conditions (such as Australianising the text, adding images that are more relevant to your students etc) this is known as Adapting an open text.  Adapting open textbooks is covered in the next section of this LibGuide.

The keys to successful Open Textbook adoption

  • Prior to selecting an Open Textbook, investigate any approvals/permissions your institution may require that you obtain
  • Put the text through a considered evaluation process (tips and links for evaluating Open Textbooks can be found under the Locating Open Textbooks tab of this LibGuide)
  • Read the text, and make a decision about its content.  Will you be able to use it "as-is", or will you need to modify it in any way? If you wish to remix, rearrange, rewrite, update, Australianise the language, or add content to it, refer to the Adapting Open Textbooks tab of this Guide

  • Check that the textbook has a Creative Commons license, that you fully understand the license conditions (including attribution requirements), and are able to comply with them  

  • Be confident that the text is compatible with your course objectives and student learning outcomes
  • Think about how the text will integrate with your course content
  • Seek feedback from others who are involved in the course eg other teachers, instructional designers etc
  • Test it out on students (if possible) for feedback on usability and access issues
  • Think about how your students will obtain access to a digital copy of your chosen Open Textbook (eg download into LMS)  Note: the simplest method is to provide a link for students to access the Open Text online)
  • Consider the needs of online students (if applicable).  They may prefer to download the material for offline access.
  • Be aware that the evaluation and integration of material into the course content may be the responsibility of others - seek advice on this! 

Adoption Guide

Title:  Adoption Guide

Author:  Lauri M. Aesoph
Publication date:  2017, 2019 (update)  
Theme:  A reference for instructors, institutions, and students on adopting open textbooks
Options:  Download or read book online


  1. Instructors:  Adopt an open textbook
  2. Institutions:  Statistics and support
  3. Students:  How to participate
  4. Learn more


AttributionAdoption Guide - 2nd Edition by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted