BCcampus (2016) Back to school buzz: 2 million in student savings BCcampus Newsletter, September 16
BCcampus (2016) BCcampus approved, Hewlett and AVED funded OER grants in B.C. Victoria BC: BCcampus
BCcampus (2016) Open Textbook Stats Victoria BC: BCcampus
There’s a lot of talk these days about how hard it is to get faculty to adopt or use OERs. It’s certainly a struggle, but progress is being made in some jurisdictions, at least in Canada, through concerted and relatively well resourced efforts.
Open educational resources
BCcampus has recently announced on its website the result of its 2016 grant allocations for the creation of open educational resources (OER). Altogether 12 institutions received grants through a combination of funding through the Hewlett Foundation and the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education. These include:
- health case studies (BCIT)
- instructional videos to accompany an open biology textbook (Camosun College)
- the creation of 3D images and videos to accompany Common Core Trades Open Textbooks (Camosun College)
- open course packs for core curriculum developed by several BC colleges (College of the Rockies + other BC colleges)
- creation of an open textbook on human resources for business studies (College of New Caledonia)
- use of small grants to help implement institution-wide OER strategies (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Simon Fraser University, University of Northern BC)
- ancillary resources for open textbooks (Physical Geology, Thompson Rivers University; Contemporary Women; and Teaching in a Digital Age, University of Victoria)
- case studies on sustainability and environmental ethics (UBC)
- virtual reality and augmented reality field trips (UBC)
- redesign of two physics courses to integrate open textbooks as the principal content sources for student learning (UBC)
- creation or adaptation of three open textbooks (aboriginal studies, Greek and Latin for scientists, microeconomics: University of Victoria)
I was particularly interested to learn that the University of Victoria is building ancillary resources for my online, open textbook, Teaching in a Digital Age. Who knew? I will make another announcement once these are developed.
BCcampus now has a new web page that provides continuously updated information about the adoption of open textbooks in British Columbia. Some key data (as of today, September 25, 2016):
- there are 163 open textbooks in the BCcampus collection (click here for a full list)
- to date, BC’s open textbook project has saved students over $2 million in textbook costs
- there are slightly more than 17,000 students using open textbooks (out of a total of 310,00 or just over 5%)
- there almost 200 faculty who are known to have adopted open textbooks in the province (out of about 8,000 – about 2.5%)
- 31 institutions have adopted at least one open textbook (covering almost every public post-secondary education institution in BC).
Guess what – more than twice as many students proportionally are using open textbooks than faculty. Although adoption is growing rapidly, it is starting from a very low base, less than 5% of courses. Nevertheless it is the most prestigious universities (UBC and UVic) in the province that are the most active this year. Great progress has been made by BCcampus in a short time (four years since the first activity) but there is still a long way to go.
Now Ontario, through eCampus Ontario, is getting into the development of OER (their new Director, David Porter, was previously the Director of BCcampus). Being a much larger province, we can expect considerably more OER being developed over the next year in Ontario.
Nevertheless from my point of view, this is a screamingly slow development for what should be a no-brainer for post-secondary education: free, online, peer-reviewed textbooks and open resources that save students – and could save institutions – big money. If BC is now a leader in this area, God help the rest of higher education. But from small acorns do great oaks grow.