Open textbooks at UChicago
Open textbooks are textbooks made available for anyone to use, adapt, and distribute for free. These books can be downloaded at no cost, or printed at a very low cost. This makes them significantly more affordable for students than traditional textbooks. which can cost upwards of a hundred dollars.
Open textbooks vary in quality, but many are written by college and university faculty and undergo a rigorous peer review process.
Yibi Huang, Associate Instructional Professor in the Department of Statistics, has used an open textbook, OpenIntro Statistics, for the past three years in her Statistical Methods and Applications class (STAT 22000).
She appreciates that the book is free for students. Before she adopted the open textbook, students would ask if they could use an older edition of the assigned text, to save on cost. She also thinks the quality is comparable with other texts on the market and notes, “I can easily reproduce and tailor the plots and examples in the book any way I want.”
A number of texts are available in mathematics and science disciplines. Below are some of the most useful resources available for locating high quality open access textbooks:
- Open Textbook Library: All textbooks in this library are either used at multiple higher education institutions or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization. The library currently includes over 700 textbooks.
- Mason OER Metafinder: The Open Education Resource (OER) Metafinder performs a simultaneous search across 21 different sources of open educational materials.
- OpenStax: Offers college level textbooks in many subject areas. Also includes tests, homework assignments and presentation slides.