The Problem

If you have ever paid for a textbook amounting to more than $100 and even $200 you can support the idea that textbook prices are out of hand at times. University can be a burdening expense as is and when the cost of textbook has risen 82% between 2002 and 2012, we begin to see higher education becoming increasingly inaccessible¹. Not to mention that the price of course materials sometimes force students to compromise their educational experience. In one recent survey conducted by Student PIRGs found that 65% of students, at one time or another, decided not to purchase an assigned textbook because the price was too high².

 

What are Open Education Resources (OERs)

OERs are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or are created with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adjust and re-distribute them. OERs can range from textbooks, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video, etc. The governments of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014 so that the 3 provinces can share resources and best practices when it comes to OERs. The movement is gaining momentum across Canada, so now let’s bring it to Bishop’s and Quebec!

 

What is the SRC’s Open Education Resource (OER) project and campaign?

This campaign is designed to advocate for reducing the financial cost of post-secondary education for our students.

This campaign will recognizes and will work towards short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals being increase adoption and use of E-TEXTBOOKS. Our professors have the opportunity to select material that has an offered e-version, which can save students between 40-50%. Additionally, to encourage faculty to utilize LIBRARY RESERVES – permitting the library to stock copies of course materials.

What is the long-term goal though? To raise awareness surrounding OERs and encourage professors to use OERs in the classroom. This initiative takes time and money – to write these materials, to introduce the benefits to faculty and train and support them on the material. Interested in some examples? One of the most popular OERs are provided through OpenStax Commons (https://openstaxcollege.org/faculty)  -- some of the most widely used are the books for sociology and physics.

 

How are we going to do this?

  1. Raise awareness – Many people don’t know about OERs and the first step is education
  2. Mobilize our Students’ Association (you guys!) – Give our students to opportunity and knowledge to speak to their peers and professors about OERs. We’re committed to passing a resolution through the SRC to support this program
  3. Build faculty support – Professors choose the material that is used in the class, so their support is vital to the success of this program!
  4. Win administrative support – Ultimately, we want this to be a university recognized initiative

 

 

Tell us about your experience!

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Have you ever used an online/electronic textbook for a class?
If not, would you consider using an online textbook for a class if it were significantly cheaper than the paper copy, or even free?
Program of study
Please check all programs in which you are currently enrolled.
 

 

 

¹ “Students Have Greater Access to Textbook Information,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, June 6, 2013, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-368.

² “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market,” Student PIRGs, January 27, 2014, http://www.uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/NATIONAL%20Fixing%20Broken%20Textbooks%20Report1.pdf.