A grant of $525,000 USD over three years will allow BCcampus to focus on increasing uptake of open resources including textbooks by increasing the value of the resources.
The grant is from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The funds will be used to develop support materials for open textbooks such as presentations, test banks and videos, as well as additional faculty reviews to boost credibility and workshops to support faculty in learning how to use and adopt open textbook resources for their classrooms.
More than 120 open textbooks are now available. Titles range from popular first and second-year areas such as math, chemistry and business, to skills and technical subjects including trades, tourism, hospitality, healthcare and adult upgrading. Over 100 faculty members at more than 15 public post-secondary institutions are part of the open textbook movement in British Columbia.
“Open textbooks significantly reduce student costs while giving instructors the flexibility to customize their course material,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “The grant from the Hewlett Foundation will allow BCcampus to focus on getting the textbooks into the hands of even more students and faculty.”
BCcampus activities will centre on developing support for faculty to find, adopt and adapt open resources to meet the needs of instructors and students.
“The generous grant from the Hewlett Foundation will support our work to make the choice of an open textbook easier for faculty by developing local support structures,” said BCcampus executive director Mary Burgess. “Open textbooks benefit post-secondary education institutions as a whole from administration to faculty to students. Student savings have grown with the expansion of the online collection of open textbooks and with greater uptake savings will grow further.”
British Columbia was the first jurisdiction in Canada to launch a government-sponsored open textbook project. It is estimated that more than 8,000 students in B.C. have saved more than $1 million with the open textbooks.
B.C. is working with other jurisdictions across Canada to make it easier to share resources and develop open textbooks that benefit students and instructors. BCcampus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Campus Manitoba in 2015, and B.C. also signed an MOU with Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2014 committing the provinces to work together on open education resources.