The Province is providing $250,000 to continue to support the open education work being done in British Columbia through the Open Textbook Project.
Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson made the announcement today during Open Education Week, which aims to raise awareness about free and open educational opportunities that exist for everyone.
“A digital library of 180 open textbook titles is available to faculty and students throughout British Columbia,” said Wilkinson. “The next phase is to encourage greater uptake of open textbooks so that students can continue to benefit and save money.”
Since the launch of the Open Textbook Project in 2012, it is estimated that over 35,000 students in B.C. have saved as much as $4 million. Open textbooks are available online and use an open license, making digital versions free to use by students and faculty. Approximately 283 faculty members at 23 public post-secondary institutions are currently participating in the project.
“This additional support from the Ministry of Advanced Education signals a strong commitment to students and to advancing open education,” said Mary Burgess, executive director at BCcampus. “B.C. continues to be a leader in open education globally, and this infusion of funding will be extremely helpful in enabling BCcampus and our institutional partners to collaborate on more meaningful, open educational experiences for students.”
Through open textbooks, students have access to 180 resources available in a range of popular first- and second-year areas such as math, chemistry and business, skills and technical subjects such as trades-foundation courses, health care and adult upgrading. In addition, 23 of the trades books are also available for download as free audiobooks.
“Ensuring post-secondary education is affordable is essential, and the Open Textbook Project has resulted in clear student savings,” said Maxwell Nicholson, director of campaigns and community relations for the University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS). “The UVSS applauds the government for responding to student societies across the province who have advocated for this funding increase.”
Open textbooks provide instructors the flexibility to adapt and customize their course materials, which can enhance the student experience and provide localized content and modifications based on the latest research. Additional resources such as presentations, test banks and videos have also been added to the open textbook collection.
The Open Textbook Project is the first government-sponsored initiative of its kind in Canada and has been replicated by other Canadian provinces including Alberta and Manitoba. B.C. is also working collaboratively with other jurisdictions in 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 committed an additional $1 million to develop 20 open textbooks in skills training and technical programs.
B.C. Open Textbook Adoptions Around the World: https://open.bccampus.ca/around-the-world/