About the BYU Open Textbook Network
The goal of the BYU Open Textbook Network is to connect efforts across the Church Education System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that seek to provide free and accessible learning opportunities to people across the world. Led by faculty, course developers, and other learning professionals, this project seeks to improve learning opportunities for all of God's children and to better share open access efforts of like-minded disciple scholars.
In the Book of Mormon, we read that prior to Jesus' ministry to the people of the Americas, a great evil entered the land that led to wickedness and destruction. In 3 Nephi 6:12-14 we read the following:
And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. ...
And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that ... the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few.
This scripture shows a pattern that inequality in access to learning enables cycles of poverty to flourish, resulting in ongoing inequity and pride. Most alarmingly, such educational inequity prevents the establishment of God's kingdom on the Earth and even has the power to destroy the Lord's church.
In a small way, this open textbook network seeks to combat this problem of educational inequity by providing high-quality learning resources to anyone "without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1), because if we "are not equal in earthly things [we] cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things" (Doctrine and Covenants 78:6).
We have five guiding values for this initiative:
- Consecration — As disciple scholars, we seek to use our time, skills, talents, opportunities, and resources to bless God's children across the Earth.
- Freedom — All of our content is freely available, and most of it is free to remix, reuse, and redistribute without seeking permission.
- Accessibility — We design all of our content with a mobile-first mindset that focuses on making content fast and accessible to all.
- Usability — All of our content undergoes ongoing usability testing to improve our users' experiences.
- Quality — Our content is created by leaders in their respective fields, and much of it undergoes similar peer review processes used by commercial journals or editorial review processes used by commercial book publishers.
We only include content on this site that is gratis (free as in no cost), but not all content may provide freedoms to users for remixing, etc. (free as in freedom). Each book included in this site is released under its own license, and some include chapters or other content that may be released under yet another license. If you have questions about reuse, remixing, etc., please consult the copyright notice on the individual work.
To learn more about licensing and copyright, check out this introductory chapter on the topic.
Some educators believe that the textbook, like print media, is effectively dead or that it perpetuates poor pedagogical practices. We sympathize with these attitudes but also recognize a few realities.
First, most courses still rely upon a textbook (69% in the U.S. according to Seaman & Seaman, 2018). Second, much of the lack of adoption of open educational resources (OER) can be attributed to their lack of perceived quality and difficulty in finding them. And third, packaging OER into a usable, flexible textbook format makes these resources more appealing and accessible to diverse educators and students across the world who exhibit a wide array of technical skills and motivations to use OER. In short, open textbooks provide a simple, first step into the world of OER, and though some may criticize open textbooks as not being radical enough, it is precisely their combination of the old and familiar with the new and radical that makes them a trialable, compatible, and relatively advantageous innovation (cf., Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 2003) that practically any educator can readily adopt.
What's the Catch?
"Are you going to monetize this or something?"
Nope. It's all free. Forever. We're just educators who care about our students and also want to make life easier for other educators.
"How do you pay for this?"
The platform's intentionally hard-funded from faculty allotments of departmental budgets so that we never have to worry about a grant running out. Individual books might be created with grant funding, but the platform itself isn't.
By hosting or linking to content on this site, we do not claim ownership of the content, and we or our partners should not be viewed as supporting the veracity or opinions of content authors. All specific content items merely reflect the opinions of their authors.
If you have questions or requests, please direct them to the website administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.