Adopt/Adapt vs Creation

6 Adoption

The information in this chapter refers to adopting an open textbook but any OER (assignments, videos, lecture notes, diagrams, etc.) can be adopted for classroom use (using many of the steps below).

For more complete information about and instruction on how to adopt an open textbook, please visit the BCcampus Open Education Adoption Guide.

Adopt an open textbook

If you are an instructor looking for an open textbook to assign to your class, here are some suggested ways to go about using a textbook from the B.C. Open Collection.

First, we often get questions from people outside of British Columbia about whether or not they can use textbooks in our collection. The answer is yes. You don’t have to be from British Columbia to use our open textbooks. Open textbooks are not geographically limited. Anyone from Canada, the United States, or any other country in the world can use these resources.

Using an open textbook for your class

  1. Find the right textbook. Search the B.C. Open Collection.
  2. Review and evaluate to see if it matches your criteria and based on content, presentation, online accessibility, production options, platform compatibility, delivery options, interactivity, consistency between online and printed versions, and available ancillary material (test banks, PowerPoints, etc.). A suggested source for evaluating an OER is the Faculty Guide for Evaluating Open Education Resources [PDF].
  3. Decide if you want to use as is or modify it. One of the benefits of open textbooks is flexibility to modify and customize them for specific course designs as much or as little as you desire. If you want to make edits or append content, make sure the Creative Commons license allows for that (every CC license except the non-derivative license allows for modifications). If you are interested in modifying an open textbook, check out our section on how to modify an open textbook.
  4. Distribute to your students. There are a number of ways in which you can do this.
    • If you’re using a textbook from this site, provide the link to the textbook to your students. They will have the option to select which file type they would like to download, or they can purchase a low cost printed version from the BCcampus print on demand service.
    • Alternatively, you can download copies of the book and put them on another site. Some examples of where you could put your own copies of the book files are:
      • Your institutional LMS (Learning Management System). Load the book files into your Moodle, Desire2Learn, Blackboard or Canvas site and make the books available to your students via the LMS.
      • Use an online file sharing service like Dropbox or Google Docs. Upload a copy of the book files to Dropbox or Google Docs and send your student the link to that copy.
      • If you have a faculty website, put copies of the files on that website and send students to your website to download your copy of the textbook.
    • Approach your local institutional bookstore or print shop to see if they can make printed copies of the books available for your students. Many institutional print shops can create low cost printed versions of textbooks and make them available to students. Keep in mind that textbooks that have a specific non-commercial clause (CC BY-NC) cannot be sold with a markup or at a profit. However, charging a modest cost-recovery fee for physical textbooks is considered reasonable.
  5. Let us know. If you adopt an open textbook from this site, tell us about it by filling out an open textbook adoption form. Faculty adoption information is important to the long-term viability of the open textbook project. Plus we will add you to a mailing list to inform you of when the textbook is being modified or additional resources are available for it.


This chapter contains material from the BCcampus Open Education Adoption Guide by BCcampus is used under a CC BY 4.0 International license. Download this book for free from


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Faculty OER Toolkit Copyright © 2017 by Shannon Moist is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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