Student Voice in Textbook Evaluation: Comparing Open and Restricted Textbooks


  • Scott Woodward Brigham Young University
  • Adam Lloyd Brigham Young University
  • Royce Kimmons Brigham Young University



open educational resources, open pedagogy, open textbooks


Advocates for student voice in higher education believe students should have the right and power to engage in much of the decision-making traditionally dominated by instructors or administrators. This qualitative study examines the role of student voice in the evaluation of textbook quality. Evaluators included two graduate students enrolled in a project management course at a university in the western U.S. and their instructor. Evaluators used their own student-created metric to analyze the comparative quality of eight graduate-level project management textbooks, two of which were open and six copyright-restricted. The purposes of this study were to assess the comparative quality of low-cost open textbooks and traditional copyright-restricted textbooks and to identify key student-generated criteria wherein all textbooks may be improved to better serve student needs. The analysis revealed that textbooks can be rigorously and meaningfully evaluated by students, that open textbooks can compete with restricted textbooks in terms of quality, and that polyphonic approaches to textbook evaluation can be valuable for learning. We discuss the implications of open textbooks as viable, high-quality classroom options, and the importance of valuing both student voice and instructor perspectives to ensure the highest quality textbook selection for courses in higher education.

Author Biographies

Scott Woodward, Brigham Young University

Scott Woodward has taught for 11 years in both secondary and post-secondary education, and he is currently teaching Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. Scott received his MA at the University of Utah in Instructional Design and Educational Technology in 2010, and he is currently a doctoral candidate at BYU in the Instructional Psychology and Technology department.

Adam Lloyd, Brigham Young University

Adam Lloyd is a master’s student studying Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. He earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Brigham Young University in 2013.

Royce Kimmons, Brigham Young University

Dr. Royce Kimmons is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University and a William and Flora Hewlett Foundation OER Research Fellow. His research interests include technology integration in K-12/higher education, open education, big data, and social media. More information about his work may be found at  



How to Cite

Woodward, S., Lloyd, A., & Kimmons, R. (2017). Student Voice in Textbook Evaluation: Comparing Open and Restricted Textbooks. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(6).



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