TRU has taken bold strides forward in its commitment to save students hundreds of dollars in textbook costs.
Eight faculty members have been awarded grants through TRU’s Strategic Initiative Fund (SIF) to create new open education resources. When these resources are ready for use in the summer of 2019, they will be stored online and available on BC Campus, a repository of academic resource materials that are free to use, have been peer reviewed, rigorously tested and have received the appropriate copyright approvals. Non-TRU students and faculty will also have free access to the materials.
These steps by TRU will directly affect about 2,200 TRU students a year for a total savings of about $250,000. In all, 11 resources were approved and will affect both students on campus and studying online or by distance through Open Learning.
The SIF award is $45,500, which covers faculty stipends and release time from their teaching schedules. Additional support comes from the instructional design team in TRU’s Open Learning division. They will provide support in such areas as research, copyright support and creating digital content, such as videos.
But these won’t be ordinary textbooks or online versions of a pdf.
“These resources are not just words on a page, but often include interactive activities, videos and simulations. So it’s a textbook, plus material they can engage with and use. Students and other instructors will be able to copy and paste, and re-use,” said Catharine Dishke Hondzel, director of TRU’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, which along with TRU’s Library and Open Learning, created the Open Education Resource Grant Fund (OERGF) and put the call out to faculty.
See below for the full list of participating faculty members and their approved resources.
“We believe the scope of this program makes TRU a leader in the country, for supporting OER adaption, adoption and creation. This also demonstrates a commitment to our faculty while leading to direct benefits for our students,” said Dishke Hondzel.
Aside from this initiative, students can also save on select textbooks at the TRU Bookstore by buying used, buying digital or renting.
The program is also a response to a suggestion put forward by the TRU Students’ Union in 2016.
A total of 18 submissions were received during this first round of the OERGF, with those selected being materials the adjudicating committee felt could be completed within the timeframe. In some cases, faculty submitted proposals because they wanted to customize materials to their teaching, while in other instances, Canadian case studies, or ones closer to TRU, weren’t available
TRU faculty have created open education resources (OERs) before, but it was without TRU’s direct involvement or compensation.
Director, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
Thompson Rivers University
Approved faculty and the new OERs
- Approved resources: CHEM 1500 for campus students, CHEM 1503 for Open Learning students
- Number of students each year: 430
- Existing textbook costs: $100 for textbook used on campus, $200 for Open Learning
- Estimated savings to students per year: $56,700
- Project title: Integrating open educational resources into first year general chemistry: CHEM 1500 and OL
Christine Miller—University Preparation
- Approved resource: BIOL 0600
- Number of students each year: 140
- Existing textbook cost: $120
- Estimated savings to students per year: $16,800
- Project title: Opening Up the Human Body (but not literally): An Open Textbook for ABE Human Biology
- Approved resource: GEOG 1000
- Number of students each year: 120
- Existing textbook cost: $175
- Estimated savings to students per year: $24,000
- Project title: Earth System Science Open Textbook
- Approved resources: EDUC 5010, EDUC 5011
- Number of students each year: 150
- Existing textbook costs: $200
- Estimated savings to students per year: $30,000
- Project title: OERs for Research Methods in Education
Jamie Noakes and Shawn Read—Career and Experiential Learning Department
- Approved resource: CO-OP 1000
- Number of students each year: 367
- Existing textbook cost: This is a new resource
- Estimated savings to students per year: This is a new resource
- Project title: Co-op 1000 and Co-op Work Term Textbook
- Approved resources: NURS 2740, NURS 2840
- Number of students each year: 160
- Existing textbook cost: $200
- Estimated savings to students per year: $32,000
- Project title: Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Health Care…adapted for TRU School of Nursing BScN program
Shannon Smyrl—Communications and New Media
- Approved resources: CMNS 1290 for campus students, CMNS 1291 for Open Learning students
- Number of students each year: 853
- Existing textbook costs: $100 campus, $133.25 for Open Learning
- Estimated savings to students per year: $93,180.25
- Project title: Professional Writing Lessons