Pressbooks and Open Educational Resources Update

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       In December, librarians Richard Kearney and Dave Williams delivered a presentation on importing OpenStax materials into Pressbooks as part of the latest William Paterson University What Works Conference. OpenStax, an Open Educational Resources (OER) authoring and distribution project hosted by Rice University, is a recognized producer of high-quality, peer-reviewed academic textbooks and related materials released free of charge under Creative Commons licenses.

Using downloadable Microsoft Word formatted files, instructors are able to import textbooks, whole or in part, while preserving the attribution of original authors and editors and adding their own customizations and modifications. The resulting books, hosted on the University’s dedicated Pressbooks platform, can be printed, distributed online, or integrated into the Blackboard system in the form of scheduled reading assignments, conforming to the “reuse, remix, and redistribute” ethic of the Creative Commons licensing movement.

Similarly, the Pressbooks platform is a content management system released under an Open Source license permitting free installation and modification and used primarily for creating, publishing, and distributing open textbooks. These books can be authored directly, as is the case with our Microbiology Laboratory Manual, “cloned” from existing Pressbooks, or, as with the OpenStax materials, imported and reformatted from downloaded text files.

The University’s “network” of Pressbooks currently hosts 25 users and six published books, all part of our expanding initiative to provide zero and low-cost options for course materials. Planning is underway to host an OER Forum, sharing best practices and celebrating faculty contributions to our open textbooks initiative during the first week of April. 

We look forward to continuing our support of these and other efforts supporting affordable education.

Faculty can contact the Library via email at  or call (973) 720-2116 to schedule workshops on Pressbooks, converting courses to OER, and identifying quality Open Educational Resources for your classes.