Students, faculty and other representatives from across British Columbia's post-secondary sector have been selected to advise on Canada's first publicly funded open textbook project.
In October 2012, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology John Yap announced the move to offer students free, online, open textbooks for 40 high-enrolment and high-impact first and second year post-secondary courses.
Up to 200,000 B.C. students each year could benefit from this move, each saving hundreds of dollars a year or more on textbooks.
The open textbooks project will be co-ordinated by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone through the smart use of collaborative information technology services.
After a call for nominations that resulted in over 40 names being put forward, the BCcampus Strategic Council has chosen 16 representatives to serve on its open textbook subcommittee. The members are:
Adrienne Watt, Northwest Community College
Dianne Crisp, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Daryl Smith, Langara College
Valerie Irvine, University of Victoria
Teaching and learning centres:
Michelle Lamberson, University of British Columbia
Gina Bennett, College of the Rockies
Sybil Harrison, Camosun College
James Rout, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Mikhail Dzuba, Simon Fraser University
Zach Crispin, Selkirk College
Katelyn McDougall, Vancouver Island University
Mark Dale, University of Northern British Columbia
Deans and directors:
Ron McGivern, Thompson Rivers University
Thor Borgford, Douglas College
Government and system services:
Kate Cotie, Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
Michael Winsemann, B.C. Council on Admissions and Transfer
The subcommittee is an advisory body of the BCcampus Strategic Council. It will be co-chaired by two members of the Strategic Council, Bill Krane, special advisor to the vice-president academic and provost, Simon Fraser University and Dr. Alan Davis, president, Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The subcommittee will provide input on the direction and structure of the B.C. open textbook project and may also be asked to provide further input on implementation and evaluation after the project is underway.
The subcommittee will provide feedback on:
- Identification and prioritization of the 40 courses for which textbooks will be prepared.
- Selection criteria for candidate texts and supplementary resources.
- Call for Proposals.
- Identification of additional consultation and engagement opportunities.
- Quality assurance and process for updating the resources once they are in published.
An open textbook is typically published under an open licence and can be read online or downloaded at no cost. If a printed copy is desired, the book is made available for printing at a fraction of traditional textbook costs.
The open textbooks will be created with input from B.C. faculty, institutions and publishers through an open Call for Proposals process.
Once available, these open textbooks will be another option for faculty and instructors who will still have the ability to determine the educational resources, including textbooks that they wish to use for their courses. Furthermore, because open textbooks are digital and open, they can be modified and adapted by instructors to fit different classes.
The open textbook project is part of the Families First Agenda for British Columbia, which helps make life more affordable, support vulnerable families and keep communities safe.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology -
"Our move to create free, online and open textbooks is an example of how we're putting ideas into action in British Columbia - taking advantage of technology to make education more accessible and affordable for students and families, and making learning resources more flexible and adaptable for instructors to meet their unique classroom needs."
- It is estimated students spend more than one hundred dollars and in some cases more than two hundred dollars per textbook. Open textbooks, or just the portion a student needs, by contrast can be printed directly by students for the cost of printing and binding at much lower prices, typically around $30 each. Alternatively, students can keep their open textbooks as e-versions and pay nothing.
- Because open textbooks are more affordable than commercially available textbooks, they permit student education budgets to stretch further, thus giving students greater flexibility in their education choices. Furthermore, faculty can readily customize open textbooks to better meet their local teaching and learning needs.
- Since 2003, the B.C. government has provided $9.5 million for the BCcampus Online Program Development Fund, which supports the development of online courses, textbooks, manuals, videos and other learning materials. Once completed, these materials are licensed and uploaded to the Shareable Online Learning Resources repository (SOL*R) at BCcampus where public post-secondary educators can share online learning resources for free. Open textbooks developed under this new program will similarly be made available to everyone.
To read the Families First Agenda for British Columbia, share your ideas or provide feedback, visit: http://www.familiesfirstbc.ca/
To learn more about BCcampus, visit: http://www.bccampus.ca/
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology