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Institutional Guide

The B.C. Open Textbook Institutional Guide is a starting point to help your institution incorporate open textbooks and other OER into the classroom starting with an OER Policy Tool. This page also provides information, guides, videos, brochures, posters, PowerPoint slides, research, and an adoption tracking tool.

OER Policy Development Tool

Created by Amanda Coolidge, Senior Manager of Open Education at BCcampus, and Daniel Demarte, Chief Academic Officer, Tidewater Community College, this institution-level Open Educational Resource Policy Development Tool was created specifically for college and university governance officials, as well as individuals who have responsibility for developing institutional policy, to promote the utilization of OER and scale efforts to full OER programs.

Open Textbooks

Four Easy Steps Toward Adoption

OpenStax offers four ideas for faculty members who aren’t ready to adopt an open textbook, but are willing to offer it as a recommended resource that can be used:

  • For students that can’t access the required textbook immediately
  • For students so they have unlimited access to a textbook (vs. rental, access codes, etc.)
  • As an additional study aid for students
  • As an additional resource for instructors and their students within a course.

B.C. Open Textbook Guides

To assist institutions, faculty, and staff with using, revising, and writing open textbooks, refer to the B.C. Open Textbook guides and tools below.


The B.C. Open Education Librarians (previously BCOER) is a grassroots group of BC post-secondary librarians interested in Open Educational Resources. They have developed many resources for librarians and others to use.

For a list of Library Guides used by post-secondary institutions around British Columbia, visit BC Open Education Library Guides.

Guides and Resources from British Columbia

Thompson Rivers University: Documentation – OER Resources

University of British Columbia: Videos – Stories about faculty teaching in the “open”

Vancouver Island University: Finding + Using Open Educational Resources and Open Education Resources Directory


Videos are an easy and personal way to learn more about open textbooks. Below are several clips produced by institutions who are using open textbooks, and BCcampus.

Royal Roads University

A review of the effectiveness and perceptions of open educational resources as compared to textbooks

University of British Columbia

How to engage the general public

How to make education more accessible

How to make teaching more student-centered

How to practice responsible pedagogy

How to rethink textbooks

Vancouver Island University

Beyond Free: How Open Textbooks Can Improve Learning, Build Community and Empower Faculty

Creative Commons Licensing Offline Work Walkthrough


Promotion and Education

Feel free to download and use these resources to help spread the word about open textbooks.

How to Assess OER at Your Institution

The team at OpenSUNY in New York has created the following assessment tool.

Tool for OER Self Assessment

This tool clearly layouts indicators to rate such as:

  1. institutional support of OER
  2. technology support of OER
  3. OER integration into course development and instructional design
  4. OER course delivery
  5. supporting faculty in the use of OER
  6. evaluation and assessment of OER initiative

Accompanying this is the OER Success Framework Rubric which explains the range of support for each indicator.

Spreading the Word at Your Institution

Herbert E. “Buddy” Muse, Distance Learning Associate Director at  Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, has graciously shared his document, Ideas for Spreading the Word about OERs at Your Institution. It is released with a CC BY license so feel free to download it and revise for your institution’s needs.

Group Activities

If you’re looking for ways to engage faculty and staff at your institution using group activities, look below for suggestions from the open education community.

  • Remix Game (thanks to Quill West, MA, MLS, Open Education Project Manager at Pierce College, Puyallup, WA)
  • Heather Ross, M.Ed., Educational Developer (Digital Pedagogies) at University of Saskatchewan suggests “…picking a variety of artifacts and having them determine if each open or not and how open is it based in the license.”
  • Wm. Preston Davis, Ed.D., Director of Instructional Services at Northern Virginia Community College says: “I have had success by creating a scenario where I assigned the audience to teach a specific course (real or made-up) and asked them to find a specific item for a lesson.  I would assign the item per table or section of the auditorium.  Some items I would request include: an open textbook, an openly licensed image or photo, a video, a public domain book/article/audio file, etc. related to the specific lesson. You can specify the type of license for a more OER aware audience, or post a cheat sheet slide with web links for a novice group.  I would have the audience report what they found, and would share some of my own findings to demonstrate how simple it is to find OER.
  • Barbara Illowsky, PhD, Dean of Basic Skills & Open Educational Resources at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA does this activity with those new to OER:
    • Ask faculty to think of 1 course they teach.
    • Estimate new, used and rental costs for the textbook.
    • Provide a link to college bookstore.
    • Have faculty check their guesses.
    • Can have a small group discussion then. Or, you do poll of people over estimating, under estimating or accurately guessing the prices.

Canadian Research on OER and Open Textbooks

BCcampus Research Report: Exploring Faculty Use of Open Educational Resources at British Columbia Post-secondary Institutions (January 18, 2016)

Survey and Research Tools

OER Research Toolkit – developed and offered by the Open Education Group is used under a CC BY license.

Report and Track Open Textbook Adoptions

We ask B.C. post-secondary faculty to fill out the Adoption of an Open Textbook form if they have adopted an open textbook from either the B.C. Open Textbook or another collection. This information is anonymized and included in our general adoption statistics.

To help track potential and confirmed adoption numbers at your own institution, use the Open Textbook/OER Adoption Tracker spreadsheet. This resource was developed by Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.