Happy Open Education Week!
The BC Federation of Students has been advocating for the funding and adoption of open educational resources for over six years. Every March we look forward to highlighting this important issue and celebrating the work being done to reduce financial barriers caused by the high costs of textbooks and course materials.
Open education resources are materials such as textbooks, online assignments, practice exams, modules, and much more, that are available free for students and instructors.
For the last six years the BCFS has worked closely with BCcampus to provide advocacy and support in the funding and creation of open education resources in British Columbia. The BCFS has lobbied the government for years on this topic and, in total, has helped in securing over $4 million in funding for BCcampus to create diverse and high quality resources for a variety of subject areas. This funding has helped BCcampus save students over $20 million dollars in textbook costs – as open education resources are accessible free of charge.
The cost of textbooks and course materials has long been a financial challenge for students: between 2002 and 2012 textbook prices rose by 82%. These costs have a real impact on student success: 65% of students report opting to not purchase an assigned textbook; 49% report taking fewer courses to reduce the cost; and 27% report that they have dropped a course because of the cost of the textbook.
These numbers are appalling, and the problem can be easily remedied. That’s why we want to take a moment this week to not only celebrate the instructors that have adopted OERs into their classrooms, but to encourage others who have not yet used an OER to give it a shot.
Students: If you have used an OER in a class before, PLEASE send a thank you message to your instructor and tell them how much it meant to you.
Professors: More resources regarding how to create, adopt, and adapt OERs to your purposes can be found on BCcampus’s website.
Check out our Open Textbooks Now! campaign to learn more, and have a very happy Open Education Week!
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