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Alternative textbook recommendations

What is the purpose of this guide?

bird and book

SC4 Library and the SC4 Open Education team have worked to curate this collection of potential replacements for traditional textbooks. Our goal in producing this list is simple. We want to share textbook options that are available to faculty that they may not have had an opportunity to locate, review, and consider by traditional methods. As advocates for textbook affordability as well as student success, we believe that quality options do exist, but need a local voice to promote their adoption and use. As of Summer 2019 semester, SC4 faculty use of alternative textbooks and alternative course materials have saved our students a potential of more than $900,000.  

What is an alternative textbook? 

Some of these recommendations are OER, openly licensed and freely available books, which are written, edited, and reviewed by academics. Many of these openly licensed texts have been adopted by faculty at other community colleges and universities. We've also included library owned ebook options as potential alternatives. These books are available through SC4 library and are licensed as multi-user ebooks, meaning that your students may all view the text at the same time. Additional alternative options, such as custom anthologies, are also available by request.

What do I do next?

If you are interested in adopting any of the resources found on this guide, all you'll need to do is update your department secretary within the textbook selection deadlines, and they will communicate the appropriate information to the bookstore. You'll also include the link to the selected resource in your course syllabus and your Canvas course site. 

Need another reason to consider adopting an alternative textbook? Thanks to generous support by the SC4 Foundation, faculty adopting an alternative textbook for the first time in a course qualify to apply for an OER Pilot Award of up to $500. 

Please contact Kendra Lake for more information, assistance, or if you are interested in building a custom anthology of resources. 

Please note, textbook costs are based on FA19 textbook (new) costs for course section. Potential savings calculations are based on maximum potential student savings, understanding that not all course section enrollment capacity are identical, and not all students purchase a new textbook. 

Did you know???

  • OER and alternative textbooks are not just easier on student bank accounts. In a recent web article, published by Anne Fiddler, OER Librarian at CUNY, the impact of OER and alternative textbook use, creation, and adoption has had an impact on faculty engagement and energy, student access to resources, student success, and community.  
  • Since Fall 2016 semester, SC4 faculty teaching 28 different courses have elected to use alternative or openly licensed textbooks in their courses.
  • The library reviews textbook adoption lists each semester to see if a multi-user ebook license is available for your textbooks to assist in student access and savings. So far, we've been able to locate ebook editions of texts for more than 30 courses. Faculty can also place copies of their current textbook on reserve in the library to help provide access to students who may not be able to afford the text. Check out the current textbooks on reserve to learn more. 
  • The college is a part of a state-wide community of Open ed practitioners, as well as a repository for sharing OER adoptions. Through Michigan Colleges Online, SC4 faculty and staff have access to the MI OER Commons Hub