The Student Caucus is pleased to report on its work with a network across campus to promote and support the use of open educational resources (OER). OER are free for students, and allow instructors to customize them to best suit their courses! Now, a proposal has been submitted to support instructors who choose to use OER instead of costly commercial textbooks.
Students have identified textbook affordability as a priority for improvement in the Student Budget Consultation for the past two years. It is no secret why. In addition to rising fees, students have faced an 88% increase in the cost of textbooks between 2006 and 2016 – four times the rate of inflation!
In 2016, the Student Caucus recognized the potential of OER to provide enormous student savings (and improved learning) if they were used more widely. We launched the Open Textbooks campaign to call on TRU to create an Open Textbook Grants Program that would give instructors resources to create, adapt, and adopt free course materials. The campaign received over 1,600 student petition signatures, was presented to every Faculty Council, and was endorsed by the Academic Planning and Priorities Committee by April 2017!
Since then, the Student Caucus has been working with a dedicated network of faculty, staff, and administrators from the Library, Open Learning, the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and numerous Faculties and Schools. This network has brought together existing initiatives and a new university-wide focus to promote open textbooks!
Together, campus partners have undertaken the following commitments:
- Submitting a funding request for a TRU OER Development Grant Program to support instructors who create, adapt, and adopt free open course materials (decision pending)
- Continuing to develop a Zed Cred (a set of courses with low or no textbook costs that can lead to a credential – i.e. Certificate of General Studies)
- Continuing to provide editing and technical support to creators of OER at TRU
The impact of these commitments is largely dependent on the success of the funding request for the OER Development Grant Program. Fortunately, the backing of multiple departments, student petitions, and past endorsements make this a strong proposal. The Student Caucus will report on final decision when it is available.
Student Budget Consultation
To stay up-to-date on all of TRU’s responses to your priorities, check out the Student Budget Consultation webpage!
Full TRU Response on Open Textbooks
For more information, contact:
| Alex McLellan
University Governance Coordinator