Lifelong Learning

Expand access to free, open textbooks for Ontario students

While the OSAP free tuition policies have been a tremendous step in reducing financial barriers for post-secondary students, textbooks continue to present a significant cost for many students.

 

Ontario made a great first step in supporting eCampus Ontario's Open Textbook Library (https://openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca/) that provides over 200 free, shareable, online textbooks for PSE students and faculty to use.

 

But we should take the next step to scale this up, by encouraging universities and colleges to create "Z-Creds" (zero-textbook cost programs for students that lead to credentials), as BC and some US states are doing. And by creating international partnerships with other provinces/states (e.g. BC, California, New York) to share textbooks and expand the number available to Ontario students, focusing on the most expensive and highest use ones.

 

We could also explore Open Textbooks in K-12 education, which could yield significant savings for school boards while giving teachers the opportunity to adapt their texts to reflect evolving curricula and student learning needs.

 

In sum, free, open, adaptable textbooks save students $ and give faculty / teachers more opportunity to share and customize them for their classes, both of which are great things!

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Idea No. 16