What is the current textbook environment at Concordia?
Currently, most assigned textbooks are commercial textbooks that students are expected to buy.
Print textbooks are very expensive, and so many students use the textbook collection available in the Library’s course reserves, but they have very short loan periods due to high demand.
What about electronic textbooks?
They are an alternative, but they also have drawbacks. Students must individually buy access to e-textbooks which is usually less expensive than print textbooks. However, students often only have access for one semester.
Also, though they are less expensive today, we have no control over how much the cost might increase in the future.
What are the key benefits of OER and open textbooks to Concordia faculty and students?
Well, the obvious benefit is in terms of cost — students would have access to high quality textbooks that are free to access, download, keep, share or print.
For faculty, there is a huge benefit to teaching and learning when all students can afford the textbook.
Another benefit is that OER also allows faculty to customize content if they desire, meaning they could add more relevant examples (e.g. Canadian or Quebec context, more inclusive perspectives) or remove content that is not meaningful to their specific course.
Concordia is providing grants, through the Library Services Fund, to encourage the use of open textbooks. The funding for the next round of grants is available to all full-time and part-time Concordia faculty members to support the work involved in adopting or customizing existing open textbooks.
The deadline to apply is November 18, 2019.