Textbook lesson in savings for UBC students

Minister Wilkinson visits Dr. Benjamin Cheung’s PSYC 308 class. Photo credit: Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology

Students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have saved over $1 million through the Open Textbook Project, which provides flexible and affordable access to higher education resources.

Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson visited a social psychology class at UBC today to talk to students about how they have benefitted from the use of open textbooks.

“The B.C. government continues to put students first by reducing student costs and making post-secondary education more accessible with open textbooks,” said Wilkinson. “The benefits of open textbooks will only continue to grow as more faculty and institutions adopt these open educational resources.”

Since the launch of the Open Textbook Project in 2012, it is estimated that over 30,000 students in B.C. have saved nearly $3.7 million. Open textbooks are available online and use an open license, making digital versions free to use by students and faculty. Approximately 267 faculty members at 23 public post-secondary institutions are currently participating in the project.

Benjamin Cheung, a lecturer in the UBC department of psychology, uses the free open textbook ‘Principles of Social Psychology’ to teach Psych 308, an elective course that hundreds of UBC students take every year.

Benjamin Cheung

“Using open textbooks alleviates some of the financial pressures for these students,” said Cheung. “Not only is this open textbook comparable to others in terms of quality, but it also gives me more freedom and control as an educator over what goes into the course and what students take away from the instruction.”

Since joining the project, UBC has seen 51 open textbook adoptions, which has helped to reduce education costs for over 8,200 students. For example, the open textbook for the social psychology class visited today has benefitted approximately 150 students with overall savings of $25,500.

Kevin Doering, a fourth-year economics student and associate vice president, academic and university affairs at the UBC Alma Mater Society, said he recently used an open textbook for a microeconomics course that saved him about $200.

“Open textbooks not only help alleviate financial stress for students, but also often improve the quality of course content,” said Doering. “Since open textbooks allow instructors to customize materials for their course, they can move away from the more traditional method of teaching chapter-by-chapter, which results in a more engaging classroom experience.”

Read the full news release on the BC Gov News website.

For more information about open education at UBC, please visit http://open.ubc.ca. The BC Open Textbook collection can be found at https://open.bccampus.ca/find-open-textbooks/. The curated collection aligns with the top 40 subject areas in BC and includes reviews by BC post-secondary faculty.