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BCcampus is pleased to, once again, host the Open Textbook Summit. This year’s event will take place May 24-25 at SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada).

The Open Textbook Summit brings together leaders in the Open Textbook field, from faculty who are reviewing, adopting and developing Open Textbooks, to student advocates, librarians, institutional administrators, government officials, and policy staff. Together, we look at what other institutions are doing to move the Open Textbook agenda forward, share experiences about what has worked well and what could be improved, and look ahead to explore how open pedagogy can influence Open Textbook development to enhance teaching and learning.

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Wednesday, May 24 • 10:30am - 11:00am
OER Advocacy: Measuring the True Cost of Textbooks

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Estimates of the financial savings gained by students using open textbooks have become a critical data point for OER advocacy. For example, estimates of textbook financial savings are used to advocate for public and institutional investment in open education resources (OERs), to measure the success of existing open textbook repositories, and to advocate for institutional creation of “Z-degree” programs. Indeed, these financial savings estimates are often cited as the primary reason for adopting open textbooks as lowering costs is thought to lower barriers to formal and informal educational opportunities. Yet, the methods for calculating financial savings created by open textbooks vary widely. Many reported financial savings are simply educated guesses or “rule of thumb” estimates (e.g. each student adoption of an open textbook is calculated as $100 in savings, an amount that is neither inflation-adjusted over time nor based on any empirical data). Use of the above methods to estimate cost savings is scientifically unsound and could undermine OER advocacy. Noting these issues, there have been several recent attempts to gather empirical data on the cost of textbooks both within and across institutions and degrees programs. These empirical research efforts have adopted a dizzying array of methodologies and methodological assumptions.

In this presentation we argue it is vital that we examine the state of work around textbook costs so that we as researchers can provide accurate information to guide advocacy and policy. We examine (1) what we know about textbook costs and student choices, (2) what we know about textbook costs across degrees, (3) challenges in and assumptions of the current methods used to measure textbook costs, (4) a new method to measuring textbook costs, (5) a case study of using this new method to measure the cost of obtaining an Associate of Science or Associate of Arts degree in British Columbia.

Arthur Gill Green is a passionate advocate for and creator of open education resources (OERs). Green teaches geographic information science and environmental geography as a faculty member at the University of British Columbia and at Okanagan College. He believes that OER is a core component of responsible, open pedagogical approaches. He is an open textbook author and developer of open source educational software. He is also a 2016 BCcampus Open Textbook Faculty Fellow and a 2016-2017 Hewlett Foundation Open Education Research Fellow.

Jennifer Kirkey is a 2016-2017 BCcampus Faculty Fellow for Open Textbooks. She has taught physics and astronomy at Douglas College for 25 years. She has volunteered with Science World's Scientist in the School programs which involves running hands on workshops in elementary school classrooms. She is an active member of the local Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.


Wednesday May 24, 2017 10:30am - 11:00am
Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre

Attendees (10)