A number of large-scale open textbook projects have been under way for several years, with some textbooks now completed and adopted for use in educational settings. While these projects typically are initiated with sufficient energy, funding and infrastructure to develop high quality products, when the dust settles questions begin to arise as to how they are to be implemented as well as maintained over time in the complex world of higher education. While the traditional commercial textbook model â€“ whether digital or not â€“ presents challenges, there are certain knowns including purchasing, implementation and versioning cycles that sustain the textbooks over the long term, but of course at a cost to students who must pay premium prices and to faculty who lose the flexibility and control achieved with open textbooks.
When open textbooks enter the same ecosystem, there are many unknowns that need to be confronted. Drawing upon their observations, discussions with stakeholders and feedback received through the various stages of implementation, the presenters describe and analyze their recent experience with the multi-purpose incorporation of an open textbook. Adopted from the BCcampus Open Textbook initiative, the textbook was implemented both for a second year online university psychology course and for a parallel Open Education Resource universitas (OERu) open course. The presenters share their observations and findings gathered over the implementation cycle to identify issues, challenges and emerging possibilities for the long-term success of open textbooks in higher education.