Students at Camosun College have saved over $115,000 since 2012 through the use of open textbooks that range from accounting to biology to trades titles.
Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson visited plumbing and pipe trades students at Camosun College today to see the benefit of open textbooks in action. The visit also celebrated the first anniversary of common-core-trades open textbooks, which offer resources for skills that are relevant to many trades.
In British Columbia, more than 160 open textbooks are currently available online for free through the Open Textbook Project, ranging from the most popular first- and second-year areas such as math and business, to skills and technical subjects such as trades foundation courses and adult upgrading. More than 190 faculty members at 24 public post-secondary institutions in B.C. are currently participating in the project.
“Open textbooks are saving money for students at Camosun College, allowing them more focus on their studies,” said Camosun College dean of trades and technology Eric Sehn. “More than that, open textbooks offer exceptional learning flexibility in the classroom for instructors and students alike.”
Open textbooks offer instructors the flexibility to adapt and customize digital course materials for students, making course information more relevant and accessible. In addition, 23 of the trades books are also available for download as free audiobooks, which helps students who face barriers to education such as physical or learning disabilities.
“I've been involved in this project from the onset,” said Rod Lidstone, open textbook project lead at Camosun College. “Thanks to our team and partners at the ITA, Open School BC and BCcampus, we were able to bring this project through to fruition. The flexibility and adaptability of open education resources with the use of educational technologies have the ability to really transform trades education as we know it today.”
The B.C. Open Textbook Project is the first government-sponsored initiative of its kind in Canada, and it has saved up to $2 million for more than 17,000 B.C. public post-secondary students since it was first announced in 2012.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I was told that I would not have to purchase any textbooks for the first 10 weeks of my 30-week plumbing and pipe trades foundations course,” said Camosun College plumbing and pipefitting trades foundation student Mike Scinocca. “These e-books helped me because they saved me money, made re-reading much easier and kept me from lugging around a physical copy. They are part of the reason I would recommend this course, and Camosun College as a whole, to anyone considering enrolling in the future.”
The Open Textbook Project also offers free open education resources including a toolkit to make open textbooks more accessible to people with disabilities, an authoring guide to assist with creating or adapting open textbooks and an open education resource toolkit. The resource toolkit provides information on how interested student societies can advocate for greater open textbook adoption on campus.
“All 23 of the common core open textbooks were adapted and authored by instructor Rod Lidstone at Camosun College,” said Amanda Coolidge, senior manager of open education at BCcampus. “Rod has been a strong advocate of open textbooks in the trades, and most recently was successful in ensuring that all pipe trades programs in B.C. will be adopting the first five of the common core open textbooks. This will affect approximately 540 students in trades programs throughout B.C., saving them a collective $30,000 this year.”
B.C. is recognized both nationally and internationally as a leader in the development of open education resources, and is working collaboratively with other jurisdictions in Canada, the United States and abroad to support the creation and use of open educational resources.
Government kick-started the Open Textbook Project with BCcampus in 2012 by providing $1 million in funding for open textbooks in the most highly enrolled first- and second-year academic subjects. In 2013, government made a platform commitment and provided further funding of $1 million to develop 20 additional open texts in skills and technical subjects. The project exceeded both commitments.
B.C. Open Textbook Adoptions Around the World: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1AB7EuOHQ_jmb0FOX4PvhXVBIIF0