Students celebrate announcement of Ontario Open Textbook Library
Students welcome today’s announcement by the province and eCampus Ontario of the Open Textbook Library, an online platform that will give students access to free educational resources like textbooks and other course materials. This victory for Ontario’s college and university students comes after recommending investments in open educational resources during the 2017 provincial pre-budget consultations.
“Textbooks have become an increasing financial burden on students, who sometimes spend thousands of dollars on course materials every year,” said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “Today’s announcement is a welcome step forward towards making higher education more affordable and accessible, saving students $2.1 million annually.”
The platform will launch with 180 open textbooks, but intends to grow by adopting and adapting existing educational resources into open access formats, and creating new ones. On top of the Open Textbook Library, the province announced an additional $1 million to assist institutions and faculty in the development and review of open access textbooks. While students are delighted to see a commitment to open access textbooks, they also urge the province to uphold their commitment to academic freedom for college and university faculty working on open access projects and ensure they are partners in this exciting new initiative.
“Today’s announcement is a direct result of the work and lobbying students have engaged in over the past year to urge government to invest in open access resources,” said Alideeb. “We are elated to see this commitment to affordability of textbooks in the province, and look forward to playing an integral role in the growth and development of Ontario’s Open Textbook Library.”
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest and oldest student organization in Ontario, representing more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.