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.
Who makes OERS? How are they funded?
BCcampus, an agency of the BC government, is tasked with centralizing efforts to create and enhance open education resources in the province. In 2012 the government provided one million dollars to initiate the open textbook initiative, and added an additional one million in 2013 to further grow the project. Since that time, open textbooks have saved students over $9 million collectively through traditional, high-cost textbooks being replaced with OER options. More funding will result in more resources and save students money one class at a time! All it takes to expand the program is a commitment from instructors and administration to make saving students money a priority.
To learn more about BCcampus and to search the database of available resources, check out their website.
In June 2018, the provincial government provided BCcampus with $250,000 to create or adapt open textbooks for all course levels in the BC Adult Dogwood diploma (adult basic education), including math, English, science, social science, computer studies, education, and career planning.
In April 2019, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark announced an infusion of an additional $3.26 million to BCcampus for the creation and enhancement of OERs. This is an historic investment and will launch the OER initiative in BC forward leaps and bounds!
OERs at Okanagan College
Our friends at the OC Library have compiled this spreadsheet of free textbooks for you to use. Once you get to the spreadsheet, please take a look at the tabs at the bottom of the screen and select the semester during which you’ll be using the book.
Information for Instructors
The COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge for students and instructors alike. Working and teaching from home is, as it would turn out, quite difficult. But did you know that OERs can help make it a bit easier? It’s true! They save instructors time and money, grant freedom in teaching your course, and everything is available online – no need to worry about print books! Check out BCcampus’s handy infographic here to learn more.