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Diversifying your course syllabus

A resource guide for instructors and faculty to assist in reviewing or building new course syllabi with a focus on inclusivity and diversity in both style and content.

Cost of textbooks

A 2014 study conducted on the textbook market by the US Public Interest Research Group found the following:

  • 65% of students said that they had decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive.
  • 94% of students who had foregone purchasing a textbook were concerned that doing so would hurt their grade in a course. More than half of the students felt significant concern for their grade in that course.
  • 82% of students felt they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook was available free online and buying a hard copy was optional.

The cost of textbooks, estimated to cost the average TMU student $774.11 per year in 2017, continues to rise and represents a significant barrier to students, particularly those of lower socioeconomic status. Some universities, such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University in BC, have begun to remove the requirement for purchasing textbooks from entire programs by relying on Open Textbooks or other open-access educational resources. Moving towards open resources is a movement that is widely supported by students, as evidenced by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) #TextbookBroke campaign

Finding Open Educational Resources

There are a number of Open Textbook publishers and compilers that you can search for an existing textbook you can use in your teaching. If one doesn't exist, consider creating one. There are grants available from the Library to encourage the creation and adoption of open educational resources.

In addition to textbooks, Open Educational Resources (OER) also include open course materials, activities and assignments, images and media, data, and journal articles.

For more information on using OER, see our online Open Access Educational Resources Guide.

Other Open Educational Resources


Streaming Video

The Library subscribes to a number of video streaming services that provide the TMU community with free access to films, documentaries, professional and academic instruction videos, and more. Videos can be added to your course eReserves, streamed in in-person class or online classes, and viewed by students at home. For more information, see our Films & Videos research guide.

Search for Films

Streaming videos and DVDs are listed in the Catalogue along with a variety of other materials. Use this search box to locate videos.



Videos and other audiovisual materials are also searchable using Search Everything.

Film Databases

Open and free streaming resources

OER support at TMU

Library Textbook Service

The University Library has a textbook service available for students for courses where purchased textbooks are required but may not be accessible. The Library will purchase a copy of each textbook ordered through the campus bookstore, and will make them available to students at the Circulation desk for 2 hour loans. For more information on this program, and please visit our website.

Nursing student holds a copy of the "readings in Health Care Ethics" textbook.

Nursing student Sarah Holub making use of the Library Textbook Program. (Photo credit Lee Chapman). 

Digital Course Readings (eReserve)

TMU Library's E-reserve service allows you to create your own digital course reading list available to your students in one place, within your D2L course shell and have them copyright checked. Readings can include book chapters, journal articles, web links, reading excerpts, etc.). Permission will be cleared as necessary, and the readings are free for students. Take careful note of the deadlines and processing times, and contact your subject librarian for assistance in finding or acquiring sources.