BCcampus Open Textbook Project History 2012 – 2016 _ BC Families First Agenda

BCcampus Open Textbook Project History 2012 – 2016 _ BC Families First Agenda

TAGS: Andrew Wilkinson Minister of Advanced Education, B.C., B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier, BC, BC Ministry of Advanced Education, BC Gov News, BC News, BC Newsroom, BCcampus, BCWork Skills for Jobs Blueprint, British Columbia, British Columbia Curriculum, Clint Lalonde, Collaborative Educational Services, David Porter, Families First Agenda, gov.bc.ca, John Yap Minister of Advanced Education Innovation and Technology, Mary Burgess, Ministry of Advanced Education, OER, Open Textbooks, Province of British Columbia, The Open Textbook Project

“BCcampus materials are every bit as good as the ones available commercially” says Minister of Advanced Education, Andrew Wilkinson

Excerpts from interview with Andrew Wilkinson, the Minister of Advanced Education.- source article BC continues to push for open textbooks [http://www.the-peak.ca/2015/06/bc-continues-to-push-for-open-textbooks/]

According to Wilkinson, the most significant challenge for the open textbook program has been getting faculty on board. He noted that utilisation of the open textbooks was higher in teaching universities and colleges compared to research universities such as SFU.

He said, “Now we have to get the instructors to catch onto the idea [. . .] that these materials are every bit as good as the ones available commercially.”

Wilkinson further explained that “one of the priorities of this program is to [understand] the decision-makers and sort out why they aren’t making more use of these texts.” He added, “if it’s because they’re concerned about content, then we want them to participate in improving the content.”

Wilkinson expanded, “Our goal is to provide affordable educational tools for students, and if that means we’re going to compete with the academic publishers who revamp textbooks every year or two with essentially the same content, we’re quite happy to compete with them.”

BCcampus Open Textbooks Photo Copied 02.JPG

BCcampus Open Textbooks Photo Copied 02

Rajiv Jhangiani Principles of Social Psychology 1st International Edition - 01Rajiv Jhangiani Principles of Social Psychology 1st International Edition – 01.JPG

2012  to 2016

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BCcampus History – Families First Agenda Unveiled, Helps Students in Need | BC Gov News
2012/06/25 _ Families First Agenda Unveiled, Helps Students in Need
2012/06/25 _ Families First Agenda Unveiled, Helps Students in Need | BC Gov News
2012/06/25 _ families_agenda_early_years_strategy.pdf
2012/06/25 _ Family Featured Programs and Services – Province of British Columbia
2012/10/16 _ B.C. to lead Canada in offering students free, open textbooks
2012/10/16 _ B.C. to lead Canada in offering students free, open textbooks | BC Gov News
2012/10/16 _ B.C. to lead Canada in offering students free, open textbooks | BC Newsroom
2013/02/18 _ Moving forward on free, open textbooks | BC Newsroom
2013/04/08 _ Moving to the next chapter on free online textbooks | BC Newsroom
2013/09/09 _ Free, open textbooks available for students and instructors
2013/09/09 _ Free, open textbooks available for students and instructors | BC Newsroom
2013/10/07 _ More open textbooks for students underway | BC Newsroom
2013/10/25 _ Free, online textbooks coming for skills training | BC Newsroom
2014/01/10 _ Students saving money with open textbooks | BC Newsroom
2014/04/15 _ B.C. leading the discussion on open textbooks | BC Newsroom
2014/04/15 _ B.C. leading the discussion on open textbooks | BC Newsroom
2014/05/15 _ Free, online textbooks developed for skills training | BC News
2014/05/15 _ Free, online textbooks developed for skills training | BC Newsroom
2014/09/00 _ B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: meet Mark Marino | BC Newsroom
2014/12/18 _ Andrew Wilkinson was appointed Minister of Advanced Education BC Newsroom
2015/03/06 _ Open Education offers students and educators new learning experiences | BC Newsroom
2015/03/06 _ Open textbooks: a great idea catches on | BC Newsroom
2015/05/29 _ Open textbooks fill digital shelves | BC News
2015/05/29 _ Open textbooks fill digital shelves | BC Newsroom
2015/05/29 _ Open textbooks fill digital shelves | BC Newsroom
2015/09/02 _ OPINION-EDITORIAL: Back to school for B.C. post-secondary students | BC Gov News
2015/09/28 _ Province and teachers partner on new curriculum training for educators | BC Gov News
2015/12/01 _ Grant to accelerate uptake of open textbooks
2015/12/01 _ Grant to accelerate uptake of open textbooks | BC Gov News
2016/09/04 _ B.C. celebrates student savings through the B.C. Open Textbook Project | BC Gov News
2016/10/16 _ The B.C. Open Textbook Project celebrates four years of success | BC Gov News

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B.C. to lead Canada in offering students free, open textbooks

Open textbooks
Education, Families Tuesday, October 16, 2012 9:15 AM

VANCOUVER – British Columbia is set to become the first province in Canada to offer students free online, open textbooks for the 40 most popular post-secondary courses.

Up to 200,000 B.C. students each year could benefit from this move under B.C.’s Families First Agenda, saving each student hundreds of dollars a year or more on textbooks – money that can go toward other learning supplies or living expenses.

An open textbook is typically published under an open licence and can be read online or downloaded at no cost. If a printed copy is desired, the book is made available for printing at a fraction of traditional textbook costs. Because the open textbooks are digital and open, they can be modified and adapted by instructors to fit different classes.

Open textbooks are part of a growing movement worldwide supporting Open Education Resources, which takes advantage of the Internet (making information sharing easier) and open licences (which extend the rights to use, reuse, revise and share material).

Government will work with post-secondary institutions in implementing an open textbook policy in anticipation they could be in use at B.C. institutions as early as 2013-14, supporting students taking a variety of courses in areas like arts, sciences, humanities and business.

The open textbooks are expected to be created with input from B.C. faculty, institutions and publishers through an open Request for Proposal process co-ordinated by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone through the smart use of collaborative information technology services. Educators will continue to have the option of using other teaching materials in developing curriculum and teaching classes.

This is the latest step announced under the Families First Agenda for British Columbia, which helps make life more affordable, support vulnerable families and keep communities safe.

Quotes:

John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology –

“By taking advantage of technology, more people can get the learning they need in the knowledge economy and access to new or better jobs. This innovative step under B.C.’s Families First Agenda, is an example of how our government is making our world-class education system even better, while increasing accessibility and affordability for students and their families.”

“British Columbia is proudly leading Canada in committing free, open textbooks to students and joins other international jurisdictions in taking a leadership role that puts technology to work for students.”

David Porter, executive director, BCcampus –

“BCcampus is leading the way on Open Educational Resources – OER – in Canada. We believe the goal of higher education is the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge, and as a system agency co-ordinating collaborative online learning services, we have an essential role to play.”

“BCcampus is in a unique position to develop and support the virtual space for educational innovation to happen across B.C. post-secondary system, and we are well-positioned to co-ordinate the BC Open Textbook project.”

Dr. Cable Green, director, Global Learning, Creative Commons –

“B.C. is leveraging 21st century-technologies and licensing to ensure its citizens have affordable access to high-quality post-secondary textbooks. Open licensing on publicly funded content ensures the greatest impact for the public dollar.”

“Canada has long been a leader in online learning and Open Educational Resources; it will now lead in the creation and open sharing of high quality textbooks. Creative Commons congratulates the B.C. government for its vision and leadership and stands ready to assist.”

Alan Shaver, president and vice-chancellor, Thompson Rivers University –

“Given the explosion of high-quality Open Education Resources – OERs, led by some of the best universities in the world, it’s clear that many people are looking to these resources to advance their education. Providing key textbooks online not only helps students enrolled in distance and on-campus programs, it also complements other OERs projects in helping learners access the wealth of online learning resources for self-development in a way that assures excellence in learning outcomes.”

Terry Lake, B.C. Minister of Environment –

“Open textbooks are an innovative way to support B.C.’s green initiatives while lowering our carbon footprint. As well, having the option of accessing the books online will save students money that they can use for other priorities and expenses.”

Quick Facts:

  • It is estimated students spend between $900 and $1,500 per academic year on textbooks. Open textbooks reduce this to around $300 or less when printed books are needed – or $0 for e-copies.
  • Open Educational Resources (OERs), like open textbooks, provide workers with easy access to training materials needed to find employment or upgrade skills.
  • OERs also have significant benefits for educators and post-secondary institutions, allowing professors to more easily incorporate a teaching module designed by a colleague directly into their course, and materials shared between provinces, or worldwide, with savings for taxpayers in public dollars spent on the development of programming and curriculum.
  • Since 2003, the B.C. government has provided $9.5 million for the BCcampus Online Program Development Fund which supports the development of online courses, textbooks, manuals, videos and other learning materials. Once completed, these materials are licensed and uploaded to the Shareable Online Learning Resources repository (SOL*R) at BCcampus where public post-secondary educators can share online learning resources for free. OER textbooks developed under this new program will be made available in SOL*R to everyone.

Learn More:

To read The Families First Agenda for British Columbia, share your ideas or provide feedback, visit: http://www.familiesfirstbc.ca/

To learn more about BCcampus, visit: http://www.bccampus.ca/

To learn more about the Open Education 2012 Conference, underway Oct. 16-18 in Vancouver, visit: http://openedconference.org/2012/

Media Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
250 952-6400

See More Ministry of Advanced Education Stories

See more from the Ministry of Advanced Education

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BCcampus to co-ordinate provincial open textbook project

October 16, 2012

The government of British Columbia has announced its support for the creation of open textbooks for the 40 most popular first- and second-year courses in the province’s public post-secondary system. The texts will be available for free online, or at low-cost for printed versions, to approximately 200,000 students.

B.C.’s minister of advanced education, John Yap, announced the project at the Open Education Conference in Vancouver. He said students could save up to $1,000 per year on textbooks if free, open versions were available for many of their courses, and he challenged other jurisdictions to follow British Columbia’s lead and support open educational resources: “By taking advantage of technology, more people can get the learning they need in the knowledge economy and access to new or better jobs.”

BCcampus will engage B.C. faculty, institutions and publishers to implement the open textbook project through an open request for proposals.

The first texts under this project (modeled after the recent California legislation) could be in use at B.C. institutions as early as 2013-14 for courses in arts, sciences, humanities and business.

BCcampus executive director David Porter explained that Creative Commons licenses will be used for the textbooks developed in B.C. “Open licenses are integral to making textbooks free for students, and flexible enough for instructors to customize the material to suit their courses.”

Creative Commons’ director of Global Learning, Dr. Cable Green, congratulated the B.C. government for its vision and leadership: “B.C. is leveraging 21st century-technologies and licensing to ensure its citizens have affordable access to high-quality post-secondary textbooks. Open licensing on publicly funded content ensures the greatest impact for the public dollar.”

The international Open Education Conference is on until Thursday October 18, and many of its sessions are streamed live. See http://openedconference.org/2012/ for more details.

The government of B.C. news release is here: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2012AEIT0010-001581.htm

Want to see good examples of open textbooks? Try Open Stax.

We also have a section on open textbooks on our Opening Education microsite.

Posted by & filed under Open Education, Open Textbooks

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Questions and Answers on Open Textbooks Part 1

October 29, 2012

Since the British Columbia government announced an Open Textbook project October 16, we have fielded many questions about it. This is Part 1 of our attempt to provide the basic information on Open Textbooks and the project itself.
textbook3210

What is an open textbook?

An open textbook is a textbook licensed under an open copyright license, and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers and members of the public. They are available for free as online versions, and as low-cost printed versions, should students opt for these.

What makes open textbooks different from a traditional textbook?

Traditionally-published textbooks are produced under closed copyright, meaning they cannot be shared, re-used or re-purposed. They are usually costly (hundreds of dollars each) with new editions published frequently, making texts only a year or two old out of date. Even if they are published digitally at half the cost, they are still expensive and come with digital rights management that means they only appear for a short period of time (4-6 months) on a student’s e-reader. The Student Public Interest Research Group in the U.S. has more information.

The open licensing of open textbooks allows for collaborations on and improvements to textbooks from contributors around the world (knowledge knows no boundaries). In contrast to traditional textbooks, with open licenses, faculty are free to adapt any portion of a textbook without requiring students to purchase an entire book only to use a small portion.

Quality: are open textbooks worth it? Is the quality equal to that of traditionally-published textbooks?

In a word: yes. Open textbooks:

  • are created by educators;
  • are reviewed by educators;
  • contribute to successful learning outcomes.

On October 18, BCcampus hosted an OER Forum and asked leaders in open licensing and open education to speak to B.C. educators and administrators about these topics.

David Wiley, Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology at Brigham Young University, was one of the presenters (you can see his entire presentation here http://open.bccampus.ca/summary/). He gave several examples of successful K-12 and post-secondary open educational projects:

Utah Open Textbook project (http://utahopentextbooks.org). Teachers adapt CK12 textbooks to their own use over the summer. They are distributed to students for their use to keep (i.e. they can highlight, make notes in margins, etc). Cost is US $4.99 per book printed and delivered (as opposed to US$80 previously). Result: 5.9% gain in standardized test scores.

Open High School of Utah (http://openhighschoolcourses.org). Completely online with mandated use of OER. Serves 400 students in grades 9-12. Textbooks were aligned with state curricula. Teachers were alloted part of their time to reviewing/revising their texts – continuous quality improvement – something you can’t do with a copyrighted text book. Huge gains in student proficiency in all subjects.

Project Kaleidoscope (http://www.project-kaleidoscope.org): a consortium of eight community colleges and four-year schools from California to New York. In this cross-institutional project – each institution contributed faculty time. The faculty aggregated OER-based textbooks to replace existing copyrighted texts that were then adopted by all participating schools. Last year open textbooks were adopted for 11 courses. Result: increased percentage (14 % gain) of students who completed classes at grade C or better. This is attributed to better accessibility: rather than waiting to buy an expensive text, or not buying it at all, students had access to all material from the first day of class.

Aren’t open textbooks, created with public funds, government textbooks created by a committee?

Most OER found in the world are created by conscientious instructors, professors and academics who are concerned with pedagogical integrity. BCcampus has already started on a pilot project to create a limited number of open textbooks, and they are being written by faculty from B.C. post-secondary institutions. Not only have they been created by faculty but they are also being reviewed by faculty to ensure quality control (just as traditionally-published textbooks are).

What is entailed in the Open Textbook Project BCcampus is implementing?

The B.C. provincial government announced on 16 October 2012 it will fund Canada’s first official open textbook project. It wants open textbooks for the 40 most popular post-secondary courses in the province, and BCcampus will be co-ordinating the implementation of the project.

Who will be creating the open textbooks in the B.C. project?

The textbooks will be created (or, where possible, re-created from existing open educational resources) by faculty or publishers, reviewed by B.C. faculty and made available under a Creative Commons license. Once the first textbooks are ready, BCcampus will publish them in an easily-accessible format online.

How are students and faculty going to find, print and download the B.C. Open Textbooks?

BCcampus will be creating an easy-to-use online repository when the first textbooks are available. For an example of what it might look like, see the University of Minnesota “Open Textbook Library” project.

Will students with disabilities be able to use the textbooks?

Making the textbooks available and accessible to learners with disabilities will be a key consideration in their creation. We will be consulting with experts in accessibility to ensure those issues are considered.


Questions and Answers on Open Textbooks Part 2

October 31, 2012

Since the British Columbia government announced an Open Textbook project October 16, we have fielded many questions about it. This is Part 2 of our attempt to provide the basic information on Open Textbooks and the project itself.

textbook1210Are instructors/professors at B.C. post-secondary institutions going to be forced to use the open textbooks?

No. We understand and respect academic freedom, and there are no plans to mandate the use of the open textbooks as a result of the B.C. Open Textbook project. Many educators consider open textbooks to be consistent with faculty’s duty to students, and many have signed the Faculty Statement on Open Textbooks created by the Student Public Interest Research Group. We will be ensuring the open textbooks are of sufficiently high quality and value that faculty will be persuaded to use, re-use, re-mix and add to the repository of Open Textbooks.

How will the open textbooks be created, what’s the process?

We haven’t finalized the finer details of the process yet as we’re in the beginning stages (as of 1 November 2012). However, there are three potential paths forward that will each require faculty input.

The first would be the adoption of existing open textbooks from freely available sources. In some cases these open textbooks are available from institutions, for example Rice University’s openstaxcollege.org, or from foundation-supported collections such as Saylor.org. There are also open textbooks available from a new style of publisher that builds open textbooks and supplemental resources aimed at adoption by faculty and instructors with special options for students. Flatworldknowledge.com is one example of this sort of publishing entity (note added 5 November 2012: According to Wired Cmapus, Flatworld will no longer offer its textbooks for free, but states it is still concerned with offering cost-effective options.)

The second potential process would be adaptation of existing open textbooks to support localized instances of courses to match course outcomes in specific programs. Instructors know their students best and would want to insure that materials are customized to meet those needs. The beauty of the open resource model is the boundless opportunity presented to instructors to customize and add value to existing open resources.

The third path would involve creating a new open textbook resource where none exists, contributing to the pool of available open textbooks and becoming an active player in the development of new materials for students.

Why are we creating these free resources for everyone to use when the private college down the road could get free textbooks created with public funds?

First, we are creating these texts for the benefit of students as well as educational institutions. We expect B.C. students will use them in a public post-secondary setting, but in reality everyone in the world will be able to download the open textbooks. They will be licensed with a Creative Commons license.

On the internet, in the digital age, “sharing” content means copying and distributing – it’s limitless and free to disseminate content. Once resources are shared online, they can be shared amongst millions of people without loss of the original. We have an unprecedented capacity to educate as never before, and without sharing there is no education. Educational sharing means adapting and personalizing to adapt to learner’s needs – connecting prior knowledge and relating past experience.*

Education is much more than the textbooks and other artefacts used to educate students. The quality of instruction, the entire post-secondary experience, the learning environment all contribute to education. Post-secondary institutions do not “compete” on the content of their textbooks or courses – rather an institution provides unique educational experiences. That is what makes a student choose one institution over another (plus other factors like location, cost, etc.).

By using “our” open textbooks, private institutions will lend credibility to the public system. If they re-mix and adapt the texts, they are required under the license to share alike, also using a Creative Commons license. We say: let them in. All are welcome in the Commons.

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Questions answered about British Columbia’s digital open textbook plan

Gilmore, D. (2012) B.C. to lead Canada in offering students free, open textbooks, British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology, October 16

Klassen, T. (2012) BCCampus to co-ordinate provincial open textbook project, BCcampus, October 16

Klassen, T. (2012) Questions and answers on open textbooks Part 1, BCcampus, October 29

Klassen, T. (2012) Questions and answers on open textbooks Part 2, BCcampus, October 31

What is being proposed?

On October 16, John Yap, British Columbia’s Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and technology, announced that  his government will work with post-secondary institutions in implementing an open textbook policy in anticipation they could be in use at B.C. institutions as early as 2013-14, supporting students taking a variety of courses in areas like arts, sciences, humanities and business.

An open textbook is typically published under an open licence and can be read online or downloaded at no cost. Because the open textbooks are digital and open, they can be modified and adapted by instructors to fit different classes. It is estimated that the use of free, digital tetbooks could save students between $900 and $1,500 per academic year.

BCcampusa publicly funded organization that uses information technology to connect the expertise, programs, and resources of all B.C. post-secondary institutions under a collaborative service delivery framework, will be the executive agency for the project.

How will this work?

The two blog posts about this project by Tori Klassen provides more details, but I also had the privilege of interviewing David Porter, the Director of BCcampus, as I had my own questions. Here they are, with David’s comments:

TB: Can you say a little more about how you see these open textbooks being created? Are some already available that could just be adopted? Will others have to be created? If so, how will this be done?

DP: There are three paths forward that will each require faculty input. The first would be the adoption of existing open textbooks from freely available sources. In some cases these open textbooks are available from institutions, for example Rice University’s openstaxcollege.org, or from foundation-supported collections such as Saylor.org. There are also open textbooks available from a new style of publisher that builds open textbooks and supplemental resources aimed at adoption by faculty and instructors with special options for students.  Flatworldknowledge.com is one example of this sort of publishing entity.

The second potential process would be adaptation of existing open textbooks to support localized instances of courses to match course outcomes in specific programs. I think we all know that instructors tend to know their students best and would want to insure that materials are customized to meet those needs. The beauty of the open resource model is the boundless opportunity presented to instructors to customize and add value to existing open resources.

The third path would involve creating a new open textbook resource where none exists, contributing to the pool of available open textbooks and becoming an active player in the development of new materials for students.

TB: If new texts are being created, will they incorporate web features, such as video-clips, student activities, hyperlinks to other web materials, etc. or will they be mainly a digital version of a printed textbook?

DP: Exactly the scenario I would envision is the substance of your question.  With the adoption, adaptation and development potential in the open space, this may be the perfect time to bring together other forms of open resources such as simulations, lab materials, video materials and other web materials into the mix as we build a larger open architecture for learning.  There may be multimedia learning objects in the BCcampus in SOLR repository (http://solr.bccampus.ca) that could be incorporated into open texts. We already have a 10-year repository of OER from which to draw material.  In addition, many print textbook publishers provide sets of study questions and multimedia learning resources online and we intend to replicate that practice where it’s pedagogically appropriate. And, while textbooks may be only one form of open resource, they are still a major component of the academic ecosystem. The open textbook program in British Columbia provides us a launch pad in which to consider a more integrated approach to bringing all open educational resources into play.

TB: It’s one thing to create the textbooks; it’s another to get faculty to agree to recommend them to students. What incentives will there be to encourage faculty to adopt these open textbooks in their courses?

DP: Clearly faculty and instructors are key players in making operational any open resource model within classrooms. I would suggest that students have a big voice here, too.  In particular, if a peer-reviewed open textbook resource is evaluated to be as good as a conventional publisher resource, why not use it, given the customization and flexibility benefits available both to students and instructors by open licensed materials?

That said, we do expect to be providing stipends for faculty and instructors to review open textbooks and to consider them for adoption or adaptation. We need to engage with articulation committees as well.  The flip side is that we have already had deans and instructors signal their support for the idea and their willingness to test out some of the proposed open materials or to recommend others that they’ve identified.

The funding that will be available to us in British Columbia will be used to support all of the components of building an open resource program, including awareness building and training, implementing review mechanisms and adopt-adapt-develop processes, along with tools and infrastructure to author, manage and distribute open materials.

TB: Have you been talking to publishers about this plan? If so, what has been their response?

DP: We have been proactively approached by a number of publishers and publishing entities to talk about the open textbook program. In some cases, these have been publishers with existing open materials they would like BC educators to consider. In other cases they are textbook publishers that are seeking to better understand how they could become involved in any development processes that may be undertaken using a call for proposals. There are also publishers who have technology and infrastructure services that could be important to us. We were a pioneer user of Pearson Education’s Equella digital repository software to create BC’s first open education repository, http://solr.bccampus.ca. We are currently using http://pressbooks.com as an environment in which to develop five pilot open textbooks for an information-technology program. This particular open textbook pilot program pre-dates the bigger open textbook announcement, and was requested by northern institutions in BC.

On the whole I would say that publishers are intrigued by what is happening and want to better understand how they might play a role. It’s our intention to keep the public, including publishers, fully informed about our progress through our web site http://open.bccampus.ca.

TB: What protections or benefits will there be for authors or subject matter experts who participate in the creation or adaptation of these open textbooks? I’m presuming they will have a Creative Commons license, but is there anything beyond that, such as royalties or other benefits? If not, why would they do it?

DP: Authors or subject matter experts who participate in the creation or adaptation of open textbooks will be compensated for their efforts. We have used agreements with institutions in the past to fund development including release time and other stipends for developers. We expect to use the Creative Commons license model that allows authors and developers to extend reuse rights for works they author or develop.

TB: Is BCcampus getting any extra funding from government for this initiative? If not how will any costs be covered?

DP: BCcampus has traditionally managed the Online Program Development Fund (OPDF) for the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. The annual fund has been on average $750K – 1M. This fund has supported the development of online courseware, lab materials, online tools, video and other resources over the past 10 years. It is our expectation that OPDF funds will be re-profiled to focus on the open textbook program.

TB: You mention on the BCcampus website that this project is modeled after the recent California legislation. Does this mean that the provincial government has passed legislation for this to happen? Can you explain what the California legislation does?

DP: The BC provincial government has not passed legislation similar to the California legislation. Our approach is a focused program modeled on the key elements of the California legislation that we believe could also work in a British Columbia context. The things we liked about the California legislation that we will try to emulate include:

  • Free access to textbooks in the most highly enrolled first and second year post-secondary courses
  • Government funding to create a library of free textbooks for students and faculty
  • Open, to ensure faculty can utilize their skills to remix, revise and repurpose these textbooks for their students
  • Courses and textbooks overseen by the establishment of the “California Open Education Resources Council” (COERC). We’ll establish a similar group.
  • California Open Source Digital Library to house the open source textbooks and courseware.  We’ll use our own digital library currently in place.
  • Call for proposals process for faculty, publishers, and others to develop open digital textbooks and related courseware.
  • Creative Commons licensing structure for open textbooks and resources
  • All materials to be reviewed for quality.

Comment

First, I would like to thank David Porter for providing such a clear explanation of how this project will work. This should be read though in conjunction with Tori Klassen’s two posts, which provide more detailed information on the concept as well as the proposed project.

If you have further questions, or wish to submit a proposal for an open textbook, please contact David Porter directly at dporter@bccampus.ca

Next, I would like to say how important this project could be in driving down some of the costs of post-secondary education. It will be interesting especially to see how faculty and instructors, as well as textbook publishers, respond to this initiative.

Lastly, in spite of the fragmented provincial system in Canada, I really hope that other provinces will join this initiative – economies of scale and the quality of the open textbooks could both be enhanced from a national approach. This is a project that is worth doing well and across the country – and perhaps even internationally.

– See more at: http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/11/02/questions-answered-about-british-columbias-digital-open-textbook-plan/#sthash.wGJ63qYZ.dpuf

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/02/moving-forward-on-free-open-textbooks.html

Moving forward on free, open textbooks

Moving forward on free, open textbooks
Education Monday, February 18, 2013 11:00 AM

VICTORIA – Students, faculty and other representatives from across British Columbia’s post-secondary sector have been selected to advise on Canada’s first publicly funded open textbook project.

In October 2012, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology John Yap announced the move to offer students free, online, open textbooks for 40 high-enrolment and high-impact first and second year post-secondary courses.

Up to 200,000 B.C. students each year could benefit from this move, each saving hundreds of dollars a year or more on textbooks.

The open textbooks project will be co-ordinated by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone through the smart use of collaborative information technology services.

After a call for nominations that resulted in over 40 names being put forward, the BCcampus Strategic Council has chosen 16 representatives to serve on its open textbook subcommittee. The members are:

Faculty:

Adrienne Watt, Northwest Community College

Dianne Crisp, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Daryl Smith, Langara College

Valerie Irvine, University of Victoria

Teaching and learning centres:

Michelle Lamberson, University of British Columbia

Gina Bennett, College of the Rockies

Libraries:

Sybil Harrison, Camosun College

James Rout, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Bookstores:

Mikhail Dzuba, Simon Fraser University

Students:

Zach Crispin, Selkirk College

Katelyn McDougall, Vancouver Island University

Vice-presidents academic:

Mark Dale, University of Northern British Columbia

Deans and directors:

Ron McGivern, Thompson Rivers University

Thor Borgford, Douglas College

Government and system services:

Kate Cotie, Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology

Michael Winsemann, B.C. Council on Admissions and Transfer

The subcommittee is an advisory body of the BCcampus Strategic Council. It will be co-chaired by two members of the Strategic Council, Bill Krane, special advisor to the vice-president academic and provost, Simon Fraser University and Dr. Alan Davis, president, Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The subcommittee will provide input on the direction and structure of the B.C. open textbook project and may also be asked to provide further input on implementation and evaluation after the project is underway.

The subcommittee will provide feedback on:

  • Identification and prioritization of the 40 courses for which textbooks will be prepared.
  • Selection criteria for candidate texts and supplementary resources.
  • Call for Proposals.
  • Identification of additional consultation and engagement opportunities.
  • Quality assurance and process for updating the resources once they are in published.

An open textbook is typically published under an open licence and can be read online or downloaded at no cost. If a printed copy is desired, the book is made available for printing at a fraction of traditional textbook costs.

The open textbooks will be created with input from B.C. faculty, institutions and publishers through an open Call for Proposals process.

Once available, these open textbooks will be another option for faculty and instructors who will still have the ability to determine the educational resources, including textbooks that they wish to use for their courses. Furthermore, because open textbooks are digital and open, they can be modified and adapted by instructors to fit different classes.

The open textbook project is part of the Families First Agenda for British Columbia, which helps make life more affordable, support vulnerable families and keep communities safe.

Quote:

John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology –

“Our move to create free, online and open textbooks is an example of how we’re putting ideas into action in British Columbia – taking advantage of technology to make education more accessible and affordable for students and families, and making learning resources more flexible and adaptable for instructors to meet their unique classroom needs.”

Quick Facts:

  • It is estimated students spend more than one hundred dollars and in some cases more than two hundred dollars per textbook. Open textbooks, or just the portion a student needs, by contrast can be printed directly by students for the cost of printing and binding at much lower prices, typically around $30 each. Alternatively, students can keep their open textbooks as e-versions and pay nothing.
  • Because open textbooks are more affordable than commercially available textbooks, they permit student education budgets to stretch further, thus giving students greater flexibility in their education choices. Furthermore, faculty can readily customize open textbooks to better meet their local teaching and learning needs.
  • Since 2003, the B.C. government has provided $9.5 million for the BCcampus Online Program Development Fund, which supports the development of online courses, textbooks, manuals, videos and other learning materials. Once completed, these materials are licensed and uploaded to the Shareable Online Learning Resources repository (SOL*R) at BCcampus where public post-secondary educators can share online learning resources for free. Open textbooks developed under this new program will similarly be made available to everyone.

Learn More:

To read the Families First Agenda for British Columbia, share your ideas or provide feedback, visit: http://www.familiesfirstbc.ca/

To learn more about BCcampus, visit: http://www.bccampus.ca/

Media Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
250 952-6400
Dan.Gilmore@gov.bc.ca

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/04/moving-to-the-next-chapter-on-free-online-textbooks.html

Moving to the next chapter on free online textbooks

Moving forward on free, open textbooks
Education, Families Monday, April 8, 2013 11:00 AM

VICTORIA – Textbooks for some of the most popular first- and second-year post-secondary subject areas in British Columbia are expected online by September, reducing costs significantly for students.

In October 2012, the B.C. government announced the move to become the first province in Canada to offer students free, online, open textbooks for the 40 most popular subject areas. Those 40 subjects have now been identified and the project will move to a phased implementation that will result in 10 to 20 of the open textbooks available online by this fall.

An open textbook is typically published under an open licence and can be read online or downloaded at no cost, or printed at a fraction of traditional textbook costs.

Once available, these open textbooks will be another option for faculty and instructors who will still have the ability to determine the educational resources, including textbooks, they wish to use for their courses. Furthermore, because open textbooks are digital and open, they can be modified and adapted by instructors to fit their unique instructional needs.

Open textbooks will be created through an open Call for Proposals process, and will be reviewed by B.C. advanced education faculty for quality and relevancy.

The open textbooks project is being co-ordinated on government’s behalf by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone through the smart use of collaborative information technology service.

British Columbia is working together with other jurisdictions to share expertise and maximize the opportunities and benefits that flow from open textbooks. This week B.C. is hosting an open textbook summit that is bringing together higher education representatives from Alberta, California and Washington, as well as other agencies and organizations involved in open textbooks from across the United States and from as far away as South Africa.

Quotes:

Ralph Sultan, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology –

“Having spent years in the post-secondary sector as a student and on faculty I know that making textbooks available online for no cost will really help students and their families, freeing up money for rent, food and other expenses and giving students greater flexibility in their education choices.”

“Our development of open textbooks makes post-secondary education more accessible, and supports our Families First Agenda for British Columbia, which helps make life more affordable, support vulnerable families and keep communities safe.”

Dianne Crisp, professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University –

“Open textbooks not only provide exceptional benefit for students and their costs, they allow a level of flexibility in content that faculty can leverage to update material, include new resources, and respond to the digital age in ways never before possible.”

Adrienne Watt, instructor at Douglas College and Northwest Community College –

It is my expectation that through this project we will be able to promote information sharing and collaborating with faculty members all over the country. Moreover, we will have the opportunity to create really robust text books that will fit classroom needs and provide quality textbooks for our students.”

Quick Facts:

  • When fully implemented, up to 200,000 students each year could benefit from B.C.’s open textbook project.
  • It is estimated students spend more than $100, and in some cases, more than $200 per textbook. Open textbooks, or just the portion a student needs, by contrast can be printed directly by students for the cost of printing and binding at much lower prices, typically around $30 each. Alternatively, students can keep their open textbooks as e-versions and pay nothing.
  • Faculty can readily customize open textbooks to better meet their local teaching and learning needs.

Learn More:

The B.C. Open Textbook Project: http://open.bccampus.ca/

BCcampus: http://www.bccampus.ca/

Families First Agenda for British Columbia: http://www.familiesfirstbc.ca/

A backgrounder follows.

Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
250 956-6400
Dan.Gilmore@gov.bc.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Implementation plan for B.C’s open textbooks project

BCcampus, working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology has identified the 40 most highly enrolled first- and second-year subject areas in the provincial post-secondary system.

The list contains 26 first-year subjects and 14 second-year subjects in 27 different disciplines across the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, formal sciences and applied sciences. Some or all of these courses are delivered by almost all of B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions.

The open textbooks will be rolled out in three phases. In the first phase, existing open textbooks that link to the 40 high-enrolment courses will be reviewed for use in British Columbia. A Call for Proposals for reviews will be issued in April 2013. It is anticipated that 10 to 20 existing open textbooks will be adopted and available online for B.C. students and faculty by September 2013.

In the second phase, existing open textbooks will be adapted and remixed for use in British Columbia. And in the third phase, new open textbooks will be created as required for courses that cannot be served by existing or adapted open textbooks.

In order of course registrations per year, starting with the highest, the 40 courses are:

English – 1st year

Math and Stats – 1st year

Psychology – 1st year

Economics (macro and micro) – 1st year

Biology- 1st year

Math and Stats – 2nd year

Accounting – 1st year

Chemistry – 1st year

Physics and Astronomy – 1st year

Sociology – 1st year

Philosophy – 1st year

Computer Science – 1st year

Chemistry – 2nd year

Business, Business Administration and Management – 1st year

Psychology – 2nd year

Criminology – 1st year

Accounting – 2nd year

Economics (macro and micro) – 2nd year

Marketing – 1st year

Biology – 2nd year

Commerce – 2nd year

Anthropology – 1st year

Business Information Systems/Business Computer Systems/Business Information Technology – 1st year

Visual Arts, Media and Design – 1st year

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science – 1st year

Kinetics/Kinesiology- 1st year

Communications – 1st year

English – 2nd year

Geography – 1st year

Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour – 2nd year

Applied Science – 1st year

French – 1st year

History – 1st year

Political Science – 1st year

Visual Arts, Media and Design – 2nd year

Communications – 2nd year

Sociology – 2nd year

Applied Science – 2nd year

Political Science – 2nd year

Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour – 1st year

Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
250 956-6400
Dan.Gilmore@gov.bc.ca

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/09/free-open-textbooks-available-for-students-and-instructors.html

Free, open textbooks available for students and instructors

Education, Families Monday, September 9, 2013 9:00 AM

VICTORIA – Fifteen open, online textbooks in subject areas ranging from math and chemistry to marketing, psychology, and business have been reviewed by post-secondary faculty and are now freely available for download from BCcampus.

“We’re leading the country with our development of open, online textbooks, using technology to make education more flexible and affordable,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “Instructors around the province can now download the textbooks, read reviews by their peers, and decide whether they want to use them in their classes, saving students lots of money in textbook costs.”

More than 38 instructors and professors from post-secondary institutions around the province reviewed existing open textbooks for quality and relevance in British Columbia. These 15 textbooks have been found to be of high quality and appropriate for use in B.C. institutions (complete list in backgrounder).

The open textbooks will be another option for faculty and instructors who ultimately choose the textbooks they wish to assign to their students. The textbooks and the reviews are now available online for faculty and instructors to consider for future courses. Some faculty that were involved in the reviews have already decided to use them, including instructors at Langara College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“It really helps if we can connect with a colleague who has first-hand experience with a particular book,” said Takashi Sato, physics instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. “It’s important to have made-in-B.C. reviews for textbooks, so that more instructors will be encouraged to adopt open, low-cost texts for their students.”

Students and instructors can download open textbooks electronically and pay nothing, and soon they will also be able to order a printed version at a fraction of traditional textbook costs.

“The open textbook project is really going to help me and other students,” said Kevin Choy, interactive arts and technology student at Simon Fraser University. “Having already spent about $3,000 on textbooks, I see the ability to download free online textbooks and the option to purchase low-cost printed copies as being particularly valuable.”

Even if an open textbook is not being used as the primary text for their course, students can still use them as valuable supplementary learning resources. And these textbooks are available to anyone. For example, anyone with an interest in a subject can freely use them, or a high school student wanting to see what kind of content is covered in a first-year biology course.

This is the first phase of British Columbia’s open textbook project to develop free, online, open textbooks for 40 popular post-secondary subject areas. Government has committed to a further 20 open textbooks.

When fully implemented, more than 200,000 students each year could benefit from the open textbook project, each saving hundreds of dollars in textbook costs.

The project is being co-ordinated on government’s behalf by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone through the smart use of collaborative information technology services.

Learn More:

To view or download reviewed open textbooks: open.bccampus.ca/forums/topic/list-of-textbooks-with-reviews/

The B.C. Open Textbook Project: www.bccampus.ca/open-textbook-project/

BCcampus: www.bccampus.ca/

The B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education: www.gov.bc.ca/aved/

A backgrounder follows.

Media Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

BACKGROUNDER

B.C.’s open textbooks

An open textbook is typically published under an open licence and can be read online or downloaded at no cost, or printed at a fraction of traditional textbook costs.

BCcampus, working with the Ministry of Advanced Education and the post-secondary system, has identified the 40 most highly enrolled first- and second-year subject areas in the province’s post-secondary system. The list contains subjects across 27 different disciplines. Some or all of these courses are delivered by almost all of B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions.

In the first phase of the open textbooks project, existing open textbooks that link to these subject areas were reviewed by more than 38 British Columbia advanced education faculty for quality and relevance.

The following open textbooks have been reviewed and found to be of high quality and appropriate for use in B.C institutions:

Biology

Biology

Business, Business Administration and Management

Mastering Strategic Management

Chemistry

Introductory Chemistry

Organic Chemistry with a Biological Emphasis

Economics

Principles of Microeconomics

Marketing

Principles of Marketing

Math and Statistics

Collaborative Statistics

Introductory Statistics

Calculus – Early Transcendentals

College Algebra

Psychology

Introduction to Psychology

Research Methods in Psychology

Principles of Social Psychology

Physics and Astronomy

College Physics

Sociology

Introduction to Sociology

The textbooks can be viewed and downloaded at: open.bccampus.ca/forums/topic/list-of-textbooks-with-reviews/

In addition, the following additional open textbooks are available at BCcampus and will be reviewed as part of the next phase of the open textbook project, which will also include existing open texts that can be adapted and re-mixed for use in British Columbia.

Accounting: Accounting Principles, A Business Perspective (Financial)

Business, Business Administration and Management: Project Management for the Business

Computer Science (two textbooks): Database Design, and Presentation Software

Economics: Macroeconomics

English: Writing for Success

Kinetics/Kinesiology: Anatomy and Physiology

Philosophy: Modern Philosophy

Media Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/10/more-open-textbooks-for-students-underway.html

More open textbooks for students underway

Education, Families Monday, October 7, 2013 10:00 AM

VICTORIA – Work is underway to adapt more open textbooks for use by students and instructors in British Columbia with today’s open call for proposals to begin the second phase of the project.

“Open textbooks make education even more affordable,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “As we keep our promise to bring open textbooks to B.C. classrooms, I would encourage instructors, professors and our post-secondary institutions to take advantage of this tremendous resource.”

The project will ultimately see 40 open textbooks available for students and instructors in highly enrolled first- and second-year subject areas. The first phase involved faculty reviews of 15 open textbooks, in subject areas ranging from math and chemistry to marketing, psychology, and business. Those 15 open textbooks and the reviews are now available free online for students and instructors.

“The rise of open textbooks is a new dynamic with the potential not only to reduce costs for students, but also to create communities of education professionals who work together to maintain quality open resources,” said BCcampus executive director David Porter.

Now that the first phase is complete, work is beginning on the second phase, where existing open textbooks will be reviewed, adapted and remixed for use in British Columbia. The open call for proposals will cover reviews and adaptations of open textbooks in subject areas such as criminology, accounting, commerce, history and computer science.

One year ago, the B.C. government announced an intention to become the first province in Canada to offer students free online open textbooks for the 40 most popular post-secondary subjects. When fully implemented, up to 200,000 students each year could benefit from B.C.’s open textbook program.

The open textbook project is being co-ordinated on government’s behalf by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone through the smart use of collaborative information technology services. For more information on the B.C. open textbook project visit: http://open.bccampus.ca

Media Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/10/free-online-textbooks-coming-for-skills-training.html

Free, online textbooks coming for skills training

Economy, Education Friday, October 25, 2013 8:30 AM

VICTORIA – Twenty open textbooks will be developed for skills training and technical post-secondary subject areas. These 20 open textbooks are in addition to the open, online textbooks already being developed for 40 high enrolment first- and second-year subject areas.

“We’re focused on making education more accessible throughout the system, and free online textbooks mean savings and more flexibility for students,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “These 20 open textbooks for skills training and technical programs will help us prepare British Columbians with the skills they need for jobs we know are coming.”

Subject areas for the additional open textbooks will be aligned with priorities in the BC Jobs Plan and Skills and Training Plan, and could include tourism, technology, trades, or other areas where there is a need for skilled workers. Specific subject areas will be determined over the next few months.

The first 10 additional open textbooks for skills training will be available online for instructors to review them and consider using them for their courses starting September 2015.

“We’re aligning education and training with the demands of the labour market,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, Shirley Bond. “Developing open textbooks focused on skills training makes these courses more affordable and more responsive, helping ensure we’re giving students the right skills for the job opportunities of today and tomorrow.”

One year ago, the B.C. government announced an intention to become the first province in Canada to offer students free online open textbooks. Fifteen open textbooks in subject areas ranging from math and chemistry to marketing, psychology and business have been peer reviewed and are available free online for students and instructors, with more under development.

When fully implemented, about 200,000 students each year could benefit from B.C.’s open textbooks.

The open textbook project is being co-ordinated on government’s behalf by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone, through the smart use of collaborative information technology services. For more information on the B.C. open textbook project, visit: http://open.bccampus.ca

Media Contact:

Dan Gilmore
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/01/students-saving-money-with-open-textbooks.html

Students saving money with open textbooks

Open textbooks
Economy, Education, Families Friday, January 10, 2014 8:30 AM

VICTORIA – British Columbia’s open textbooks project already has helped almost 300 post-secondary students, who saved an average of $146 each on their textbook costs for the fall 2013 semester.

“In just a few months since we made our first batch of open textbooks freely available online in September, students are reporting sizable savings,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “And the benefits for students and faculty will continue to grow as we develop open textbooks for more subjects, and more instructors around the province have a chance to review and use them in their classes.”

Open textbooks are an attractive option for students, and faculty who ultimately choose the textbooks used. Open textbooks are digital and open to being modified and adapted by instructors to fit the needs of their students and course requirements.

Individual instructors at Capilano University, Douglas College, the Justice Institute of B.C., Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langara College and Northwest Community College used open textbooks in the fall 2013 semester, bringing collective savings of over $43,000 to students.

For example:

  • 60 students taking introductory physics at Kwantlen Polytechnic University were assigned an open textbook that replaced a traditional textbook costing $187, for a collective saving of $11,220.
  • 40 students using an open textbook for their statistics course at the Justice Institute of B.C. saved $100 each.
  • 35 students at Douglas College saved a total of $5,600 using an open textbook for their database management class.
  • 20 management students using an open textbook at Northwest Community College saved $103 each for a class saving of $2,060.

“It’s nice to be able to go online, download the chapters that you need, and not have to carry a giant textbook around with you,” said Robert Payer, a student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University who used an open textbook for his physics class. “I’ve saved $190 this semester, which makes a huge difference when you’re on a tight budget.”

British Columbia is the first province in Canada to develop open textbooks for 40 highly enrolled, post-secondary subject areas. In the first phase of the project, 15 open textbooks in a range of subjects including math, chemistry, psychology and business were peer-reviewed by B.C. faculty and made available for free download in September 2013.

“Instead of forcing my students to purchase the leading softcover textbook for $130, I posted the open textbook for free on the course website, collectively saving my students $5,200 this semester,” said Rajiv Jhangiani, psychology professor at Capilano University.

Open textbooks in more subject areas currently are being reviewed and adapted by faculty for use in British Columbia, and are available online from BCcampus. In addition, 20 open textbooks will be developed for skills training and technical post-secondary subject areas.

The open textbook project is being co-ordinated on government’s behalf by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone, through the smart use of collaborative information technology services.

Learn More:

To view or download open textbooks at BCcampus: http://open.bccampus.ca/find-open-textbooks/

For more information on the B.C. open textbook project, visit: http://open.bccampus.ca

Media Contact:

Catherine Loiacono
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/04/bc-leading-the-discussion-on-open-textbooks.html

B.C. leading the discussion on open textbooks

Education Tuesday, April 15, 2014 9:15 AM

VICTORIA – Leaders in the development and promotion of free online textbooks from across Canada and the United States are meeting at the second annual Open Textbook Summit in Vancouver on April 16 and 17.

“Open textbooks are one way we are working to reduce costs for students, making education more affordable, accessible and flexible,” says Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk. “Through innovation, there will be further ways to reduce barriers to education. The Open Textbook Summit gives us the opportunity to work together across jurisdictions to bring online textbooks to more students and instructors.”

Participants from several U.S. states, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan, include students, instructors, librarians, post-secondary administrators and government representatives, as well as various agencies and organizations that are involved in open educational resources such as online textbooks.

“Our province is committed to open education resources, and this summit will assist our government in developing a strategy based on the best practices of Alberta and British Columbia,” said Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education Rob Norris. “This will benefit students so that they can focus their attention on moving towards learning to earning.”

The summit provides an opportunity to discuss the activities underway in different jurisdictions, identify common issues and potential areas of collaboration and co-operation, and determine the best way to move forward together on open educational resources.

“Along with lending our experiences with textbooks to the conversation, we can also help in bringing this program back to our own schools,” said Brittany Barnes, Capilano University student and vice chair of the Alliance of British Columbia Students. “Open textbooks are one of the many innovative changes that this government can establish to save students money and make education more accessible.”

“We’re looking forward to exploring options for providing a greater range of choices for instructors while also seeking to reduce the costs for students,” said Tom Chase, vice president academic, University of Regina.

“Open educational resources for instructors and students will change the landscape of post-secondary education, and we’re here to learn and explore ways to contribute to a growing body of knowledge and resources,” says Tricia Donovan, executive director of eCampusAlberta, a consortium of 19 Alberta post-secondary institutions that facilitates greater access to high-quality online learning opportunities.

British Columbia was the first province in Canada, and one of the first jurisdictions in North America, to introduce open textbooks for post-secondary students. Nineteen open textbooks have been peer-reviewed by B.C. faculty for courses ranging from math and chemistry to marketing, psychology, and business and are already freely available online for students and instructors.

When fully implemented in British Columbia, it is estimated that more than 200,000 students each year could benefit from the open textbook project, each saving hundreds of dollars in textbook costs.

“In addition to providing free textbooks to our students, open textbooks allow us as instructors to customize our course content exactly the way we want it,” said Adrienne Watt, instructor at Douglas College and Northwest Community College. “The Open Textbook Summit will be a wonderful way for various open textbook advocates to sit down and collaborate on ways to improve this very important endeavour in B.C.”

Last month British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan signed a memorandum of understanding to share resources and work together to develop open educational resources.

The 2014 Open Textbook Summit is organized by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that focuses on the smart use of collaborative information technology services in higher education in British Columbia.

Learn More:

For more information on the 2014 Open Textbook Summit: http://otsummit.bccampus.ca/

To view the memorandum of understanding between B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan on Open Educational Resources: http://www.bing.com/search?q=aved.gov.bc.ca%2FNWP-MOU-FINAL-SIGNED.pdf&src=IE-TopResult&FORM=IE10TR

To learn more about the B.C. Open Textbook Project: http://bccampus.ca/open-textbook-project/

Media Contacts:

Scott Sutherland
Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2015/03/open-education-offers-students-and-educators-new-learning-experiences.html

Open Education offers students and educators new learning experiences

Economy, Education Friday, March 6, 2015 11:47 AM

VICTORIA – Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson has provided this statement in advance of Open Education Week, which runs March 9-13, 2015:

“Technology and the need for affordable, high-quality education materials are driving new ways of thinking about teaching and learning. Today, there is a growing movement toward free and open sharing of educational resources as a way to increase access to education and knowledge for everyone.

“Open Education Week celebrates this new direction, and helps raise awareness of the many new opportunities for learners and educators to meet their needs and goals.

“Open textbooks are one important element of open education. British Columbia was the first province in Canada to launch a government-sponsored open textbook project. Post-secondary students can now access more than 70 textbooks online, for free, through the Open Textbooks program announced by the provincial government in October 2012.

“Educators develop these textbooks, and share them with students, teachers and the public. The texts are freely available online or through low-cost printing. People are encouraged to use, distribute, remix, adapt and build upon the work of the author, as long as the author is credited for the original creation.

“Open textbooks also give students a significant financial break. To date, more 4,600 students in British Columbia have saved in excess of $600,000 by using open textbooks. More than 50 faculty members at approximately 14 post-secondary institutions in B.C. are using open textbooks in the highest-enrolled, first- and second-year subject areas. These numbers continue to grow. An additional 20 open textbooks in skills, training and technology subjects are expected by September 2015.

“The collection of open education resources in B.C. is growing in size and number of users. They will become even more accessible than ever with tools such as the newly released BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit. The kit encourages educators to develop and adapt open textbooks specifically for students with disabilities.”

More information:

For an audio clip of Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson speaking about Open Education Week, visit: http://ow.ly/JZBSF
Open education resources are a growing part of the changing face of education. For more information about Open Education Week, visit: www.openeducationweek.org/

For more information about open education resources in British Columbia, including the BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit, visit the BCcampus website: http://open.bccampus.ca/

Media Contacts:

Stacey McGaghey Jones
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

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http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2015/03/open-textbooks-a-great-idea-catches-on.html

Open textbooks: a great idea catches on

Open textbooks: a great idea catches on
Education, Sectors Friday, March 6, 2015 3:30 PM

VANCOUVER – Imagine you’re a college or university student. Now imagine you can access your required reading at the click of a button or the touch of a tablet, on campus or at home – without paying a dime.

A student’s dream come true? Definitely. Cutting-edge? Certainly. Post-secondary textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars per year, and B.C. has become a leader in open education by promoting and developing the Open Textbook Project, which aims to get free – yes, free – openly licensed digital textbooks into the hands of students and faculty across the province.

As B.C. marks Open Education Week from March 9-13, there is cause for further celebration: the Open Textbook Project – announced in October 2012 – has already saved more than $600,000 for at least 4,600 B.C. students. There are more than 70 open textbooks available online covering the most highly-enrolled first and second year subjects in B.C., with more than 20 new textbooks for skills and trades in the works. The Province wants to help save students money and make it easier for instructors to adapt teaching materials for their classrooms.

As a psychology professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and open learning faculty member with Thompson Rivers University, Rajiv Jhangiani is a big fan of open textbooks. He is one of more than 50 faculty members across the province using open textbooks in his courses, and he has also reviewed two open texts and revised two others to create Canadian editions. He says open educational resources are all part of a shift to a more open learning philosophy, and there is potential for broad use in videos, tutorials, assignments and more.

“The cost savings to students are significant,” Jhangiani says. “Open textbooks are also more convenient, flexible and portable for students. As a faculty member, I am able to adapt an open textbook to fit my goals.”

As a Canadian leader in the development and adoption of open textbooks, B.C. is taking the initiative to develop new materials. In 2014, BCcampus—which coordinates the Open Textbook Project on government’s behalf—held its first textbook-development “sprint.” The event gathered faculty members and professionals together for an intensive four-day brainstorming session to write, edit and publish a textbook from scratch. This May, BCcampus will continue to encourage discussion on open education by hosting the annual Open Textbook Summit in Vancouver. The summit will bring together leaders in open education – including faculty, librarians and government officials from Canada and the U.S. – and it will feature the summit’s first-ever student-led keynote presentation.

Student Chardaye Bueckert, president of the undergraduate student society at Simon Fraser University, is one of the keynote speakers at the Open Textbook Summit this year. She says the focus of her talk will be on international improvements in open education and her experience as an open textbook advocate—though she says there are some exciting developments happening closer to home.

“The BC Open Textbook Program is the first of its kind in Canada and has already saved students hundreds of thousands of dollars in textbook costs,” Bueckert says. “It is also exciting that the B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan governments recently signed an agreement to work together to develop and share open textbooks.”

As open education picks up steam, one thing is for sure—open textbook technology is creating innovative ways for faculty to deliver information while saving students valuable dollars toward education.

For more information about the Open Textbook Summit, please visit: open.bccampus.ca

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https://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2015/05/open-textbooks-fill-digital-shelves.html

Open textbooks fill digital shelves

Open textbooks fill digital shelves
Education Friday, May 29, 2015 9:30 AM

VANCOUVER – Post-secondary students and instructors in B.C. will be able to access more than 120 open textbooks as dozens of new skills training titles hit digital shelves this fall.

Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson made the announcement at the third-annual BCcampus Open Textbook Summit in Vancouver. The summit brought together members of the open textbook community, including students and instructors from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Participants offered talks and presentations to demonstrate the growth and potential of the open textbook movement.

“Students and instructors will benefit from the addition of 50 new open textbooks covering subject areas such as adult basic education, culinary arts and introductory courses for trades training,” said Wilkinson. “Increasing access to open textbooks means more money in student pockets, more flexibility for instructors and greater versatility in learning materials.”

Open textbooks fill digital shelves

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 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 by September 2015. The Open Textbook Project will see 50 new titles added this fall – more than double the expected number.

“We are thrilled with the positive response to open textbooks by B.C. post-secondary faculty and institutions,” said Clint Lalonde, senior manager of open education at BCcampus. “Educators from throughout the province are embracing open textbooks as a tangible way to help lower the cost of higher education for students in British Columbia. In addition to reducing student costs, open textbooks allow new models of innovative teaching and learning practices to emerge, and they position British Columbia as a worldwide leader in the use of open educational resources in higher education.”

The Open Textbook Project is the first of its kind in Canada. There are currently more than 70 open-license titles available online, which means students can download and print these texts for free and instructors can adapt content to fit the needs of their students. More than 50 faculty members at public post-secondary institutions throughout the province currently participate in the project, and it is estimated that 5,400 students in B.C. have saved up to $700,000 to date by using open textbooks.

“With free open textbooks, the potential for reduced anxiety among students is huge,” said Rebecca Deutschmann, soon-to-be fourth-year history and psychology student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. “Tight student budgets coupled with the cost of textbooks can sometimes limit the number of courses a student is able to take. Students should be able to finish courses faster using open textbooks because they won’t have to worry about cost.”

The new open texts support B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint by focusing on subject areas that support high-demand occupations such as trades, adult basic education, tourism and hospitality and healthcare. Blueprint – introduced one year ago in April 2014 – outlines a plan to align funding and programs to target in-demand occupations.

“We wanted to create open textbooks that are usable as introductory information for a wide range of trades programs,” said Rod Lidstone, open textbook author and instructor of plumbing, pipe and refrigeration trades at Camosun College. “There are old print resources, but these were created 20 years ago and they are not available electronically. We decided to create a set of updated text books that would be available in multiple electronic formats, free for use and adaptable by instructors.”

B.C. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2014 to work together on open education resources. The MOU makes it easier to share resources and develop open textbooks to benefit students and instructors in all three provinces.

Learn More:

BCcampus: http://bccampus.ca/open-textbook-project/

Open Textbook Summit: http://otsummit.bccampus.ca/

Media Contacts:

Stacey McGaghey Jones
Ministry of Advanced Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 952-6400

BACKGROUNDER

New skills and trades open texts ready for fall 2015

The 50 new open textbooks in skills and trades scheduled for release this fall include:

Adult Basic Education – English
ABE for Adult Literacy Fundamental English Level 1 + course reader
ABE for Adult Literacy Fundamental English Level 2 + course reader
ABE for Adult Literacy Fundamental English Level 3 + course reader
ABE for Adult Literacy Fundamental English Level 4 + course reader
ABE for Adult Literacy Fundamental English Level 5 + course reader
ABE for Adult Literacy Fundamental English Level 6 + course reader
Total books: 12

Adult Basic Education – Math
Adult Literacy Fundamental Mathematics Level 1
Adult Literacy Fundamental Mathematics Level 2
Adult Literacy Fundamental Mathematics Level 3
Adult Literacy Fundamental Mathematics Level 4
Adult Literacy Fundamental Mathematics Level 5
Adult Literacy Fundamental Mathematics Level 6
Total books: Six

Common Core Trades
Control Workplace Hazards
Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Workers’ Compensation Board Standards
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
Personal Protective Equipment
Fire Prevention
Basic Measuring Layout and Hand Tools
Power Tools
Lift Loads
Erect Ladders and Scaffolds
Fastening and Fittings
Mathematical Problems (x2)
Science Concepts
Sketching and Reading Drawings
Processing Technical Information
Employment Preparation
Employability Skills
Basic Principles of Electricity
Common circuit components and symbols
Wiring Connections
Multimeters
Total books: 21

Culinary Arts
Workplace Safety
Meat Cutting and Processing
Kitchen management/ food and labour costing
Human Resources
Food Safety
Employability Skills
Baking and Pastry
Total books: Seven

Graphic Design
Total books: One

Healthcare
Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Illness
Total books: One

Physical Geology
Total books: One

Tourism and Hospitality
Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality for BC
Total books: One

Media Contacts:

Stacey McGaghey Jones
Ministry of Advanced Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 952-6400

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http://www.the-peak.ca/2015/06/bc-continues-to-push-for-open-textbooks/

BC continues to push for open textbooks

BCcampus will be releasing 50 new open textbooks this fall

Open textbooks can be updated online on a constant basis. - Phoebe Lim

Open textbooks can be updated online on a constant basis. – Phoebe Lim
 SFU students may no longer have to bust open their piggy banks to buy course materials for popular courses.

Recently, the Minister of Advanced Education for the provincial government Andrew Wilkinson announced that BCcampus would add 50 new open textbooks to the already 70 strong database this fall. Open texts are freely accessible ones available digitally.

The Open Textbook Program began in 2012 when the government pledged $1 million to BCcampus to develop low- or no-cost materials for the most commonly taken courses. It is now used by around 5,000 students across BC.

Minister Wilkinson explained to The Peak some of the potential benefits he sees in open textbooks: “[Students] get [a] curriculum that is very much related to British Columbia priorities and British Columbia teaching standards.”

He acknowledged, “We all know that the published textbook is in danger of becoming obsolete the minute it’s printed.” However, open textbooks, as he explained, can be updated online on a constant basis.

The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) has been involved with the Open Textbook Program since 2013, when former SFSS president Chardaye Bueckert emphasized it in her election platform.

Brady Yano, current VP University Relations, and other volunteers began to reach out to students by starting a petition which collected 2,500 signatures from undergraduates who were interested in the university exploring open textbooks.

Yano remarked that most students were unaware that such textbooks were freely available. He said, “The majority of students were interested in the potential cost savings that were associated with open textbooks.”

Wilkinson expanded, “Our goal is to provide affordable educational tools for students, and if that means we’re going to compete with the academic publishers who revamp textbooks every year or two with essentially the same content, we’re quite happy to compete with them.”

Yano acknowledged that a small number of students were opposed to open text. Their complaints, in his opinion, boiled down to the textbooks threatening student jobs at the SFU bookstore and that physical books were preferable to digital ones. Yano was quick to point out that all open textbooks can be printed for about $13.

Furthermore, the SFU bookstore exist as a break-even operation. Yano predicted that open textbooks would save SFU money by eliminating the need to return unsold textbooks back to the publisher at a loss. He referred to the bookstore’s losses from the 2013/2014 fiscal year, totalling $481,000.

According to Wilkinson, the most significant challenge for the open textbook program has been getting faculty on board. He noted that utilisation of the open textbooks was higher in teaching universities and colleges compared to research universities such as SFU.

Yano noted that while SFU provides the highest number of faculty that review these texts, no open textbook has been adopted at any of the university’s three campuses.

Said Yano, “I think if professors were reminded of the fact that tuition is significantly more expensive today than in previous times, hopefully they can empathize with students and help save students money.”

Wilkinson further explained that “one of the priorities of this program is to [understand] the decision-makers and sort out why they aren’t making more use of these texts.” He added, “if it’s because they’re concerned about content, then we want them to participate in improving the content.”

Where does Minister Wilkinson see the program in the next few years? “We’re hoping it continues to expand,” he said, “Now we have to get the instructors to catch onto the idea [. . .] that these materials are every bit as good as the ones available commercially.”

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2015/09/02 _ OPINION-EDITORIAL: Back to school for B.C. post-secondary students | BC Gov News

2015/09/28 _ Province and teachers partner on new curriculum training for educators | BC Gov News

2015/12/01 _ Grant to accelerate uptake of open textbooks

2015/12/01 _ Grant to accelerate uptake of open textbooks | BC Gov News

2016/09/04 _ B.C. celebrates student savings through the B.C. Open Textbook Project | BC Gov News

2016/10/16 _ The B.C. Open Textbook Project celebrates four years of success | BC Gov News

Sunday, October 16, 2016   https://twitter.com/dendroglyph/status/787776775745142784

david-porter-ecampusontario-bccampus

The B.C. Open Textbook Project celebrates four years of success

Sunday, October 16, 2016 9:00 AM

Students in B.C. are celebrating four years of free open textbooks and up to $2.3 million in savings through the B.C. Open Textbook Project.

The B.C. Open Textbook Project is the first government-sponsored initiative of its kind in Canada. It is estimated that more than 18,000 students in B.C. have benefitted from using open textbooks since the project was first announced on Oct. 16, 2012.

“Open textbooks are saving students hundreds of dollars when compared to the traditional books that they used in a class,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “Uptake is growing as more students, professors and instructors realize not only the savings offered by open textbooks, but also the exceptional learning flexibility in the classroom.”

Currently, over 160 open textbooks are available for free online 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 200 faculty members at 23 public post-secondary institutions in B.C. are participating in the Open Textbook Project.

“Over the decades, I watched the rising cost of textbooks force more and more of my students to go without, and often do poorly in the course,” said Jennifer Kirkey, instructor and chair in the department of physics and astronomy at Douglas College. “Using an open textbook means all my students have the textbook, making my job easier. The students are happier, and their academic performance has improved.”

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 to expand the project, and provided further funding of $1 million to develop 20 additional open textbooks in skills and technical subjects. The project exceeded both commitments.

“The past four years have seen incredible growth and student benefits through the Open Textbook Project,” said Maxwell Nicholson, director of campaigns and community relations with the University of Victoria Student Society. “The University of Victoria Student Society is proud to support the affordability and adaptability that open textbooks offer, and we look forward to even more open textbook adoptions and student savings here at the University of Victoria and throughout B.C. Together, we can change the textbook industry.”

B.C. is recognized as a leader both nationally and internationally in the development of open education resources including open textbooks, and it is working collaboratively with other jurisdictions in Canada, the United States and abroad to support the creation and use of open educational resources.

“BCcampus is extremely proud that the B.C. Open Textbook Project has impacted such a diverse student population, from the Lower Mainland to the Interior to northern B.C.,” said Amanda Coolidge, senior manager of open education at BCcampus. “Institutions across the Province are showing commitment to the use of Open Educational Resources to both transform teaching and learning practices and save students money.”

In addition to open textbooks, the Open Textbook Project offers free open education resources including resources 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 toolkit provides information on how interested student societies can advocate for greater open textbook adoption on campus.

Projects in development through the Open Textbook Project include a new open textbook on Aboriginal knowledge and science education research, supplementary teaching resources and adoption packages for common core trades open textbooks.

Learn More:

B.C. Open Textbook Project: https://open.bccampus.ca/

A backgrounder follows.

david-porter-ecampusontario-bccampus-don-gorges-1

 

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