eBooks & Open Educational Resources (OER)

eBooks & Open Educational Resources (OER)

As momentum for digital learning builds, some institutions are adopting digital textbooks and are even using open educational resources (OER). While the use of the traditional textbook remains a popular option, even publishing companies are beginning to provide companion digital resources for their textbooks.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

open educational resources icon

“Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. Since 2002, when the term Open Educational Resources (OER) first emerged, to today, OER has increasingly been recognized by the international community as an innovative tool for meeting the challenges of providing lifelong learning opportunities for learners from diverse levels and modes of education worldwide.”- Unesco.org

Image Source: Unesco.org

book depicting digital options for readingFaculty around the world are joining the OER movement to save students money, take control over course materials, and improve learning.

Visit the Kaplan Family Library’s LibGuide for resources about OER at MSMC, including subject-specific OER options. You can also contact a Librarian through this website to discuss adopting OER in your course, or to help you evaluate the quality of the OERs you may find.

Image Source: Online Learning Consortium

oer commons logo

With OER Commons, you can search, browse, and evaluate resources in OER Commons’ growing collection of over 50,000 high-quality OER. Their repository allows you to search by subject area, so you can find resources specific to your discipline.

Image and Information Source: OER Commons

openstax logoOpenStax is a nonprofit educational initiative based at Rice University, and it’s their mission to give every student the tools they need to be successful in the classroom. Through their partnerships with philanthropic foundations and alliance with other educational resource companies, they’re breaking down the most common barriers to learning. Visit OpenStax’s FAQ page for more information.

Image and Information Source: OpenStax.org

Digital Textbooks (eBooks), Books & Novels

digital textbooks

Digital textbooks (also known as eBooks or eTexts) are traditionally digital renditions of the print version of the book, but with more features. A digital textbook is more interactive and engaging. To address diverse learning styles and needs, an e-textbook is usually designed with features that will help students learn better and engage more with the learning material. A digital version of the textbook can contain videos, animations and audios which will aid the student’s learning process.

Article: What are the benefits of using digital textbooks?

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Get started by searching the Library catalog for available eBooks at MSMC.

The Kaplan Family Library also encourages the use of EBSCO, EBSCO is the leading provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, eBooks and discovery service to libraries of all kinds.

You may also check with your preferred textbook publisher to see if your textbook offers a digital version or digital companion resources.

Google Play Books can be used to find digital textbooks, as well as every day books and novels from a variety of genres to fit your discipline. Some books may come at a lower cost than a traditional print book, or may even be free. In addition to their website, Google Play Books provides an app for Apple and Android devices, so that students can access their eBooks from anywhere, anytime.

amazon logoAmazon Kindle eBooks no longer requires that you purchase their Kindle device — Amazon eBooks are now available anywhere their app can be installed. Similar to Google Play Books, some eBooks may come at a lower cost than a traditional print book. Amazon also provides the ability to purchase or rent eTextbooks.


Most digital textbooks are usable with E-Readers on computers and mobile devices of all shapes and sizes. E-Readers allows students and instructors to view resources from almost anywhere they wish to work and learn. Some eBooks (or files) that you may come across may require you to download an E-Reader to your device.

Adobe Acrobat (for file types such as .pdf)

Adobe Acrobat is a long standing program stable on computer PC’s. Adobe Acrobat allows users to view Portable Document Formatted (PDF) documents. Using this program stops PDF’s from opening in a browser window when opened from a computer folder and grants more functions to the user. Works on most computers, internet browsers and mobile devices.

Click here for download links.

iPhone | iPad | Android | Google Chrome Extension | Windows | Mac | Linux Alternative


Adobe Digital Editions (for file types such as .pdf or .epub)

Adobe Digital Editions is designed to make .pdf and .epub documents reader friendly. The key advantages in using Adobe Digital Editions is the ability to create a library of documents, set bookmarks and access a documents table of contents. This is all done with the a similar set up to Adobe Acrobat, but designed in a cleaner format for reading text.

Click here for download links.

iPhone | iPad | AndroidWindows | Mac | Linux Alternative


EPUBReader (for file types such as .epub)

EPUBReader is a HMTL 5 browser based .epub reader designed to read .epub file type textbooks.This reader can be used as an “extension”/”add-on” to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and is usable online and offline once installed.


Logos for Google Play Books and Amazon Kindle eBooks are owned by the respective companies. All rights reserved.