Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Textbook Alternatives

Going Beyond the Textbook

Due to the cost, hassle, lack of student engagement and other factors, many educators have began to look beyond traditional textbooks for educational resources to guide student learning.  Some of the alternatives include:

  •  Open access textbooks and educational resources
  • Streaming library content (i.e. educational videos through library resources)
  • Articles, case studies, & essays


Open Educational Resources/Open access

The terms “open access” and “open educational resources” (OERs) describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like “open source”) that is either 

(1) in the public domain or 

(2) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission”* 

OERs is an umbrella term for learning resources in various formats (ex. open textbooks, TED Talk videos) that are freely accesible online. In many cases, OERs can supplement or replace proprietary textbooks altogether without sacrificing quality. Using OERs saves students hundreds of dollar each semester and can be accessed immediately without shipping delays, a ‘win win’ scenario for teachers and students!

How to Use This Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet lists open educational resources (OERs) by broad (and sometimes overlapping) groups: open access textbooks, search engines of open access teaching content, open access courses (i.e. an entire courses that can be taken online at anytime), and library resources (not open access, per se, but still permissible for educational use). You can click on the tabs at the bottom to find suggestions for each course in that discipline or download the spreadsheet.

*This definition was copied verbatim from: Defining the “Open” in Open Content and Open Educational Resources was written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at Read more about OERs here.