Best of BCcampus blog posts: it’s all about open textbooks

It’s hard to believe that the fall term for post secondary institutions begins next week. With back to school top of mind, we’re turning our attention to our most popular open textbooks blog posts. In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting the exciting progress made on our Open Textbook program. We’re on track for our targets and are always looking for instructors to review, adapt or adopt and open textbook.

urgent education material

Want to review, adapt or create an Open Textbook

Our review and selection process is posted online. And, selected reviewers are paid an honorarium of $250 per textbook. All of our peer-reviewed open textbooks are rated against a review rubric to ensure consistency and quality. The rubric includes criteria for comprehensiveness, content accuracy, interface, relevance, clarity, grammar, consistency and organizational structure. Our 5-point rating system provides a quick at-a-glance overview of the quality and usability of the open textbook.

Our rate sheet gives a clearer picture of the scope of work and funding available. Additional funding is available for faculty and instructors who wish to adapt a textbook for their own use or create a new one. Textbook adapters and creators receive in-kind institutional contributions that can include instructional design and graphic support, editing and help with online publishing platforms.

We have Forums and an Open Textbooks Toolkit

Our Open Textbook Forums, FAQs and resources provide a good starting point for not only understanding our process, but also finding out what open educational resources could mean for post-secondary education in B.C.

And, this past spring, we sent our Open Textbooks Toolkit to all Teaching and Learning Centres across the province, hoping to pique instructors’ interest as they were choosing textbooks for the fall semester.

Textbook of the Day: Of Economics, Communications, Numbers and Logic

In March, as part of Open Education Week 2014, BCcampus featured some our best open textbooks (ratings of 80% and higher based on peer reviews) currently available to instructors and students on our OpenEd site.

Our Open Textbooks Collection currently holds 62 Open Textbooks. And, 23 of those have peer reviews. There are a total of 55 reviews on the site.

Below is a sampling of some of the Best-Of Open Textbooks featured:

Textbook: Principles of Microeconomics

Reviewed by: John Brouwer, Eton College
Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Reviewer comment: The text is consistent in terminology and framework. The early chapters are well setup providing foundational information for the each of the subsequent chapters.  The text is well laid out as is the content but the text should be entitled: Macroeconomics: Theory in Application from a US Perspective. Overall the text would be excellent if there was a considerable amount of Canadian content added.

Textbook: Mastering Strategic Management

Reviewed by: David Try, Northwest Community College
Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Reviewer comment: I found this text to be well-written and high quality, with up-to-date material, examples and case studies. In my experience, both as an instructor and retired practitioner, this textbook covers all basic concepts and topics at an appropriate depth for an Introduction to Business Strategy / Policy course.  Overall, I was very impressed with the quality and professionalism of the text. A ‘newbie’ to e-textbooks, I was surprised by the usefulness of additional features available with electronic textbooks (searching, embedded URLs)

Textbook: Communication Theory

Reviewed by: Leanne Rose, Vancouver Island University
Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5 

Reviewer comment:  Overall, I thought the text was easy to understand and consistent in format. The headings and subheadings assist the reader in maintaining a flow of understanding. The text is very comprehensive in relation to the index. A thorough breakdown of the development of theory is offered, with each major contribution being clearly linked to the theorist.

Textbook: Introductory Statistics

Reviewed by: Leslie Burkholder, University of British Columbia
Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5

Reviewer comment: The textbook is very clear. The writing style is quite accessible. Many of our students do not have English as a first language. It doesn’t look like the text would present issues for their understanding.

Textbook: Calculus – Early Transcendentals

Reviewed by: Bruce Aubertin, Langara College
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Reviewer comment: Overall, I like this book a lot. It is very well written and friendly to read, without the usual clutter of sidebars, footnotes and appendices! There is appropriate rigour throughout, though the book is not at all in the style of Rudin’s classic graduate text, “Principles of Mathematical Analysis!” It is much more conversational, and suited even for self-study.

If you are looking to learn something new and contribute to our growing community of open textbook advocates and leaders, fill out an application form today. Or, reach out to Mary Burgess or Clint Lalonde to find out more.

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