Fundamentals of Business : Virginia Tech’s New Open Textbook

Virginia Tech Libraries and the Pamplin College of Business are pleased to announce publication of Fundamentals of Business, a full color, 440+ page free online textbook for Virginia Tech’s Foundations of Business course. This Virginia Tech course averages 14 sections with over 700 students in Fall semesters. The textbook is an open educational resource, and may be customized and redistributed non-commercially with attribution.

Cover of Fundamentals of Business
(See cover credits below)

The book is the work of Prof. Stephen Skripak and his team of faculty colleagues from the Pamplin College of Business, Anastasia Cortes and Richard Parsons, open education librarian Anita Walz, graphic designers Brian Craig and Trevor Finney, and student peer reviewers Jonathan De Pena, Nina Lindsay, and Sachi Soni. Assistive Technologies consulted on the accessibility of the textbook.

The first openly licensed book of its kind created at Virginia Tech, the book is in direct response to two problems faced by Pamplin’s team of professors: a used edition of the previous textbook was priced as high as $215, and students were not engaged by the previous text.

Skripak and his colleagues started with an openly licensed textbook created in 2011 (licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license) which legally allows modification and non-commercial redistribution with attribution. The team significantly updated, redesigned, and contributed new content to create a learning resource that fits course learning objectives and reduces student textbook costs for this course to zero. Through a grant from the University Libraries, three students were hired to peer review drafts of the text. The team worked together through details of updating data, designing new figures, and ensuring web and print-on-demand ready layout. The resulting work, Fundamentals of Business, is licensed with a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

CC-BY-NC-SA logo

In addition to faculty members’ ability to customize content and resolution of student affordability issues, the availability of an openly licensed text in common, editable file format bodes well for faculty at other institutions seeking to leverage academic freedom in support of student learning and affordability. The book is representative of a larger movement to empower faculty to freely adopt, adapt, and author a myriad of course types. We hope that many other institutions will take advantage of the opportunity to adopt, adapt or remix the book to fit their needs.

Fundamentals of Business is available in VTechWorks, Virginia Tech’s institutional repository, in PDF and editable Microsoft Word formats. Print-on-demand copies are available at the cost of manufacturing and shipping in color and black & white from Lulu Press. The book is also featured in the Open Textbook Library, OER Commons, and MERLOT II.

Credits for cover images:
Hong Kong Skyscrapers” by Estial, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney CC BY-SA 4.0; “Paris vue d’ensemble tour Eiffel” by Taxiarchos228, cropped and modified by Poke2001 and Trevor Finney CC BY 3.0; “London Bridge” by Skitterphoto, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney, Public Domain; “New York” by Mscamilaalmeida, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney, Public Domain.

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About Anita Walz

I am the Open Education, Copyright, and Scholarly Communication Librarian at Virginia Tech. I work with students, staff, faculty, and administrators and on a national level to inspire faculty to choose, adapt, and create learning resources which are more accessible to students. I am also the library's liaison for Economics, Mathematics, and Legal Studies. My work experience includes over 15 years in international, government, and academic libraries. My research interests include: economics of higher education, library involvement in open educational resource initiatives, library publishing, and effective teaching practices for college-age and adult learners.
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