UPEI Open Textbook Working Group

Late in 2012 UPEI’s President and Vice Chancellor met with the President and Executive Vice President of the Student Union to discuss the issue of increasing costs for textbooks and related materials. As a result of this the Open Textbook Working Group was established to consider recent developments in the "open textbook" landscape and find ways to facilitate a broader discussion and potential adoption of alternatives to expensive texts. The “Open Textbook” term is increasingly common in the academic community and typically refers to a single text, or collection of material, that is made available online under an open copyright license (e.g., public domain, or Creative Commons Attribution) to be freely used by teachers, students, and the general public.

Specifically, the Working Group was tasked with:

  • reviewing current textbook costs and approaches on campus;
  • summarizing best-practices in the North American university community;
  • identifying options and innovative ways to provide textbooks or print or online equivalents;
  • developing guidelines and resources for faculty to use when selecting or building a text and making recommendations to help minimize textbook costs to students while ensuring high quality learning content.

The Working Groups initial research into the average costs 1st-year UPEI students from various programs will pay for textbooks highlights the significant financial commitment textbooks add to existing tuition and related costs. As we move ahead over the next year we will be providing additional information on open alternatives to the traditional publisher-supplied text, and resources available to help faculty investigate these options. A good example of a resource ready to facilitate this conversation is the Liaison Librarians, who are ready to facilitate sustainable approaches to open textbooks. We are also moving forward with a number of pilot projects designed to showcase a variety of approaches to the development of open textbooks and we will be keeping all of you up to date with our efforts as we proceed.

Please feel free to contact me (566-0460, dmoses@upei.ca) or other members of the Working Group if you have any questions, would like to be more engaged in these efforts, or would like help considering an open textbook alternative for your next course. Group Members: Donald Moses (Chair), Travis Gordon, Jason Pearson, Bea Hartinger, Adam Fenech, Dave Cormier, Charles Adeyanju. Former Members: Mark Leggott, Kevin Rogers, Betty Jeffery, Anastasia Smallwood, Jane Magrath, Don Wagner