Open access textbooks: opportunities and challenges

Simon K S Cheung, K S Yuen, K C Li, Eva Y M Tsang and Alex Wong
The Open University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR, China

Different from traditional textbooks, open access textbooks are by nature open education resources that are free to use and can be delivered in electronic or printed form. Not only that the development of open access textbooks is cost-effective, the continuous revisions and updates can be made efficiently. Open access textbooks also allow easy adaptation to cater for the students’ learning differences. However, for the successful adoption of open access textbooks, a number of challenges need to be overcome, such as on soliciting contributors of textbook contents, assuring the quality of textbooks, and establishing a culture of sharing education resources. This paper investigates these opportunities and challenges, and proposes a solution for the implementation and sustainable development of open access textbooks in Hong Kong. Some overseas successful projects are referenced and discussed. It is believed that open access textbooks would effectively resolve the pressing issues of high price and frequent revisions of textbooks, while offering many pedagogical advantages.