Victoria – Students in British Columbia are getting more affordable post-secondary education, and instructors are benefiting from high-quality, innovative teaching materials, because of an investment in open education resources (OER).
Funding of $3.26 million for OER, including more open textbooks, was announced by Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, at the Cascadia Open Education Summit held at the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre Campus. Open textbooks use an open copyright license allowing instructors to modify and adapt teaching and learning materials to fit the unique needs of their students and courses. There is no royalty fee structure.
The Open Textbook project is managed by BC campus, an agency funded by the Province, with the mandate to provide teaching, learning, educational technology and open education support to the post-secondary institutions of British Columbia.
The BC Federation of Students are applauding the BC government’s announced funding infusion for the development of open education resources. The $3.26 million in additional funding for BC campus will enable the agency to create and enhance open resources such as textbooks, online assignments, and practice exams that will be available free for students and instructors at BC post-secondary institutions.
The BC Federation of Students has advocated for the creation and use of OERs for three years with its Open Textbooks Now! campaign. Most of the advocacy work has focused on students raising awareness on campus and working with faculty to adopt OERs in their classes; provincially the BCFS has called for an infusion of funding to further expand availability, particularly in under-resourced areas such as trades.
“Students are excited that this government has listened to their concerns about textbook prices and is taking action,” said Armutlu. “This investment of $3.26 million will launch the open education initiative forward leaps and bounds and will save students millions of dollars over just a few years.”
The BC Federation of Students represents over 130,000 students at 13 universities and colleges in every region of BC. Together, these students advocate for a well-funded system of post-secondary education in BC that is affordable and accessible for all students.