April 28, 2017

Update on British Columbia’s open textbook project

Why use open textbooks? 2

BCcampus has just announced that as of October 30, 2015, it has now made available 23 new ‘Common Core’ open textbooks for the Province of B.C.’s Trades Apprenticeship Programs.

This brings the total number of open textbooks in the BCcampus project to 136, covering both core university and college programs. All these books are available for free downloading under a Creative Commons license, and are offered in various e-book formats free of charge, or as print on demand books available at the cost of printing.

BCcampus estimates that as of 24 November, 2015, the project has resulted in estimated savings for students of between $927,200 and $1,204,762. The calculation is based on 9,275 students across the 19 participating institutions who have adopted open textbooks. The calculation is based on two categories for open textbook adoption: a Displacing Adoption that sees faculty using an open textbook solution to replace a resource students would have had to pay for, and a Supplementary Adoption where the open textbook is used within the course, but does not replace the commercial textbook. More detailed statistics on the project, such as which books have been most adopted, and what are the most popular formats for downloading, can be accessed here.

BCcampus also has agreements with the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon, and has recently partnered with Campus Manitoba to assist them in their roll out of open textbooks within Manitoba. While open textbooks can be used anywhere in the world, the reviews of books in the collection have thus far been restricted to B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Yukon faculty. The new agreement with Manitoba will allow Manitoba faculty to contribute their knowledge and expertise to the growing body of open textbook reviews, strengthening the collection of open textbooks for everyone.

These statistics do not include my own open, online textbook, Teaching in a Digital Age, which is not part of the BCcampus, government-funded open textbook project, but which is housed on the BCcampus open textbook server and BCcampus provided essential technical support and help with the book’s production and delivery. To date Teaching in a Digital Age has been downloaded 13,679 times since its publication in April this year and is also available in print, on demand, at cost ($17-$53 a copy, depending on greyscale or colour version). It has already been translated into Vietnamese, and is currently being translated into French by Contact North, Ontario, and into Chinese by the Central China Radio and Television University, Beijing.

To find an Open Textbook, or find more information about the BCcampus project, please see the BCcampus OpenEd website.

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