Camosun to Help Advance the Use of Open Textbooks

Students at Camosun College are saving thousands of dollars through the use of open textbooks, which helps make education and training affordable and accessible.

From biology to plumbing and pipefitting, 3,357 Camosun students have utilized open textbooks in 124 different courses, according to BCcampus stats. This has resulted in Camosun students saving $462,758 in textbook costs.

“I've been involved in the open textbook project from the onset,” says Plumbing, Pipe and Refrigeration Trades instructor Rod Lidstone. “The flexibility and adaptability of open education resources with the use of educational technologies have the ability to really transform trades education as we know it today.”

Camosun biology instructor Charles Molnar has co-authored Concepts of Biology – 1st Canadian Edition, an intro to biology open textbook with Dr. Jane Gair, which he uses in his first-year classes.

“These are free textbooks to download and they can be used for life,” says Molnar. “Rather than just being consumers, students enjoy having a hand in the ongoing editorial process.”

Camosun will help advance the Province’s open and affordable education vision by helping to integrate open-education practices and methods into the college’s current systems.

“Camosun students are among the approximately 130,000 students throughout B.C. who have saved more than $13 million through the Province’s open textbook project,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “When students don’t have to break the bank to buy textbooks, they can focus less on their finances and more on their education to gain the skills they need to be part of building the best B.C.”

Camosun College received $32,250 from BCcampus to establish the Open Education Demonstration Initiative. The initiative will bring together up to ten faculty with librarians, curriculum developers, and specialists in adaptive technology and Indigenization to redevelop ten courses using open educational resources and open educational practices over a 12 to 18 month period. A course redesign handbook will be also be created so this initiative can be implemented at other institutions

“Open textbooks support the college’s vision of accessible, affordable and applied education,” says Sherri Bell, President of Camosun College. “From a student perspective, open resources offer better accessibility for all and, of course, a huge cost-savings.”

Camosun is one of four public post-secondary institutions in the province to receive the BCcampus Open Education Sustainability Grant. The grant will be matched by the college’s Creativity and Innovation funds providing the college with the ability to build even more capacity around open resources and pedagogy.

“Open education resources can add value to teaching methods. It can be more creative and allows us to embed our college’s strategic direction and values around Indigenization, intercultural approaches and relevant, applied learning into our work,” says Sybil Harrison, Director of Learning Services at Camosun College. “Values like, inclusion, innovation, life-long learning and supportive student experiences can all be weaved through.”

Open textbooks are free educational resources created and shared so that more students have access to information. Open licenses allow teaching materials to be freely accessed, shared and adapted and allow instructors to remix or customize existing open textbooks to maximize instructional content to meet their own learning objectives.

“The Camosun College Student Society is happy to see Camosun College moving forward on Open Educational Resources as the high cost of text books is a serious financial barrier to many of our members,” says Fillette Umulisa, CCSS External Executive. “Students have long advocated, locally and provincially through the BC Federation of Students, for greater use of open educational resources. In addition to potentially saving students hundreds of dollars, open educational resources are often more relevant, flexible, and easy for faculty to customise to learning outcomes.”

Original article from Camosun College