Eduvation Blog

eTexts & Open Textbooks

In this “Big Picture” excerpt from Ten with Ken ep9, Canada’s most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, Ken Steele, reviews the evolution of PSE textbooks.

Like it or not, libraries are moving paper books into underground storage vaults and textbook publishers are rushing to embrace access codes that defeat the most common student efficiencies (photocopying, piracy, sharing, buying used, borrowing from the library, etc). What’s promising are the institutions bundling textbooks into student fees, often providing free iPads in the bargain, like the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, College Boreal, Olds College, and more. Some studies have found that 77% of students don’t even buy mandatory textbooks – so small wonder that Algonquin College is finding substantial improvements in student learning and success when etexts are provided to 100% of students. Since the government of California committed to creating free, peer-reviewed open-source online versions of the textbooks for the 50 top college courses in 2012, the governments of British Columbia and Manitoba have followed suit. We’re likely to see a lot more provinces jump on the bandwagon to score political points on the cheap.

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