What’s an Open Textbook?
An open textbook is a type of Open Education Resource (OER). And what is an OER? We’re so glad you asked! OERs are openly licensed teaching and learning materials that consist mainly of open textbooks, but also include things such as blogs, videos, TED talks, artwork, simulations, and teaching resources. Many open textbooks are written and peer reviewed by experts, and studies have found that students do as well or better in classes that use open textbooks. What sets open textbooks apart is the “open” licence under which they are published, which enables them to be legally copied, distributed, shared and accessed at a low cost with no fear of expiration dates.
Our goal with this campaign is to promote the availability of on-demand open educational resources, and educate faculty on how they can adapt and customize open textbooks for their courses.
Why it’s a big deal
The high cost of textbooks has become a serious obstacle to accessing post-secondary education in British Columbia. The commercial textbook market enables publishers to generate huge profits at students’ expense. While B.C. students (and their families) incur debt due to rent, food and tuition costs, the rising costs of already expensive textbooks adds additional financial burden and can result in delayed life choices, increased debt, and compromised academic goals. These costs limit our academic potential, and are a barrier to accessing post-secondary education for many students like us.