Step 1: Finding an Open Textbook

I have been interested in using an Open Textbook since I heard about them last year. The idea appeals to me Рyou can choose your content, students can have the text as a PDF , online or a printout, it is open sourced. All of these things appeal to me. The difficulty? Working out HOW to do this when no one else in my department is using them (at the moment), So, for this weeks blog, I thought I would explore how easy it is to start the process Рfind & evaluate Рan open source text for my Biology class. For more information on why Open Textbooks are important, check out this short  video about Why Open Education Matters

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Step 1: Where to start
I need to decide where to start my search for a textbook. For me, this was the easiest part. I want to support a local initiative (BC is leading the way for Canada). BCcampus has been working on first year Biology textbook which is suitable for a Adult Education (grade 12 equivalent) course. BCcampus also has a resources page full of other open texts in case I cannot find one I like though them.Step 2: Get Informed
Before I started looking at the biology texts, I thought I better get informed on how to adopt an open textbook for a class. I read through a faqs page. There is a 101 page with an overview of the steps involved and a more detailed page full of information specific to BCcampus. I am now feeling a little more overwhelmed. I need to look at the textbooks to see if there is one suitable for my class.  If I find one, then I can worry about how to adopt an Open Textbook, if not then I will move my search to another place.

Picture Step 3: Finding a text
There are three different first year biology textbooks. I was expecting one, so this is a pleasant surprise. As I look through the three choices, only one seems to be appropriate for the content that I teach which emphasizes the Cell and Human Biology. Taking a look at the Table of Contents, all the topics that I talk about in class seem to be present. There is only one small section missing which could easily be done as a separate course-ware package. The next step for me is to evaluate the textbook itself to see if the content level is appropriate. I will focus on that for next week as I suspect it will take a bit of time!

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