Post-secondary education just got a little more affordable, thanks to a $3.26 million investment from the BC government into open education resources (OER).

The funds will go towards BC’s “Open Textbook” project, which funds textbooks that use open copyright licenses that allow instructors to use and modify the materials to fit their students and courses.

There is also no royalty fee associated with these textbooks.

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“Students are excited to see the government recognize the value of open education resources,” said Aran Armutlu, chairperson of the B.C. Federation of Students in a statement.

“The high cost of textbooks is an obstacle that can force students to short-change their academic goals, and this infusion of funding will enable BCcampus to create a suite of new and enhanced resources that will ease the burden of expensive textbooks and course materials.”

The Open Textbook project is designed to make OER easy and attractive to use in classrooms while also meeting the needs of instructors.

The open education resources will give students free access to assignments, quizzes, and homework-management systems for a wide range of programs, including: early childhood education, science, technology, engineering and math education, trades, health, and business.

In total, roughly 100,000 students in B.C. have saved as much as $10 million by using open textbooks.

“Students in the trades are burdened by the cost of learning resources,” said Chad Flinn, industrial construction instructor at BCIT. “I’d rather see students investing in tools for their trade rather than textbooks that are only used for a short time in class.

“There’s so much more value in teaching methods using open education resources. It’s way more creative. We can involve students in the co-creation of content, so the sky’s the limit.”

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