The BC Open Textbook Program is a Government of British Columbia initiative created in October 2012 aimed at producing free resources for students in the place of standard textbooks. British Columbia is the first province in Canada to commit to funding the movement toward open textbooks. The program, administered by BCcampus, will create adaptable, high quality textbooks for the 40 most popular first and second year courses amongst British Columbia’s post-secondary students in addition to 20 more textbooks.
Currently 57 titles spanning 35 subject areas are available. 20 of these books have been peer reviewed, 14 of which have received at least a rating of 4 out of 5. 35 more reviews are underway. As of May 9, 21 different faculty members teaching 23 courses have utilized these open textbooks.
What are Open Textbooks?
Open textbooks are free and completely customizable educational resources that are available online through Creative Commons licencing. While a traditional textbook can cost hundreds of dollars, students can utilize open textbooks online for free or print a hard copy for a fraction of the cost of a traditional textbook.. They are developed through traditional peer review, and vetted by experts. As with any textbook, the instructor is the final judge of whether an open textbook meets the needs of their course(s). Recently, the University of Saskatchewan committed to creating an open textbook program similar to BC’s, demonstrating the growing acceptance of open textbooks in Canadian post-secondary institutions.
How can students help?
Please sign our petition and ask your friends to do so as well. The information gathered through this petition will help us represent your student voice at the SFU Senate meeting on September 21. At this meeting, and with the show of support from students gathered via the petition, we will lobby the SFU administration to incite participation and involvement with the Open Textbook Program, and thus help distribute free resources for students in order to make the academic path of SFU students more accessible and affordable.