Working on online courses in a post-secondary institution, I am very interested in OERs. Some online classes don’t require textbooks, but lots do. I think it would be amazing if we could use more open textbooks, and reduce the cost of taking classes for students.
I decided to explore and review the BCcampus OpenEd site to see what resources are available and how easy they are to find and use. This collection of OERs fits my needs perfectly because its focus is on open textbooks for the most popular first and second-year classes in post-secondary education.
The first thing I noticed about BCcampus OpenEd is that the whole site is about educating people about open education and answering any questions they might have about why or how they should use open textbooks. It answers the questions, what is open education, how to use open textbooks, how to create open textbooks and how to advocate for open education.
Once you are ready to discover the resources that are available, there 304 open textbooks to choose from. On the Browse Our Collection tab, there is a large search bar with filter options. On this page, it clearly lists all of the filter options with descriptions, so you know exactly what each term means.
Filter options include:
- Faculty Reviewed – choose open textbooks that have been reviewed and approved by instructors and faculty from B.C. and other provinces
- Adopted – find open textbooks that have been selected by instructors and added to their curriculum
- Accessible – open textbooks that meet the accessibility requirements outlined in the BCcampus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit
- Ancillary Resources – open textbooks with additional components, which could include quizzes, case studies, simulations, multi-media content, and other tools to help the learning process
One thing that encourages instructors to use publisher textbooks is the additional resources that are available when they use that textbook. Such as question banks, lesson plans, and learning activities. So I was happy to see that there are 149 textbooks with ancillary resources on BCcampus OpenEd. This is a great start to making open textbooks more appealing to instructors.
Another way to search the catalogue is by using the accordion menu on the left hand of the search bar. I really like the accordion menu because it allows you to easily browse through the collection of textbooks and resources if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. Or if you just want to see what is available.
Once you find a textbook you are interested in, you can then choose from multiple formats to download it in for reading, editing or printing.
BCcampus did a great job when they created the OpenEd website. It is very clearly laid out, and it highlights why open textbooks are important. It explains how to adopt an open textbook and has lots of resources if you would like to create your own. There are two different ways to search for a textbook and both were easy to navigate. The one thing I would recommend is allowing users to rate textbooks. That wasn’t available, but you were able to filter your search based on whether or not a textbook is Faculty Reviewed, which is a similar feature. There also aren’t a huge number of resources available, but it is currently focusing on popular first and second-year classes and trades for post-secondary education. If that is the area that you are in, this is a great resource and I would recommend it highly.