From borders to barriers, open textbooks make education accessible

Back in August, we read a great article about Camosun College partnering with Arusha Technical College, in Tanzania, Africa to start up a Gas Transmission Technician Diploma Programme to meet the pipefitting needs of the local industry. This article piqued our interest, and we thought we should follow up with John Gordon, Chair, Plumbing, Pipe & Refrigeration Trades at Camosun College and his team to find out more. The program design was based on using resources from BC Open Textbook collection. We recently had the chance to ask John a few questions about the program and the open textbooks they’re using.

From left to right: Baraka Kichonge, John Gordon, Nicholaus Mhusa, and Rashidi MKacha. Photo credit to Camosun College

What is the program called and can you tell us a little bit more about it and what the connection is to Canada/Camosun College?

The name is “Gas Transmission and Distribution Engineer Improving Skills Training for Employment Program (ISTEP), a three-year partnership funded by Global Affairs Canada through Colleges and Institutes Canada.

Which open textbooks will these students use?

The intention is to use all the Trades Common Core textbooks in the collection.

How are they accessing the open textbooks?

The instructors in TZ tend to use paper-based material still so it is highly likely that the textbooks will be printed and handed out to students.

What has been the overall perception of the open textbooks from Tanzania?

Feedback from instructors has been very positive. Students won’t use the textbooks until the program rolls out in 2017.

How many students and faculty in Tanzania will be using the open textbooks?

There are three faculty members designing part of the program around the textbooks and the target is to have about 150 students go through the program by 2018.

BC Open Textbook adoptions around the world

The books in the BC Open Textbook collection are openly licensed for anyone in the world to use, and while we have heard that other jurisdictions outside of B.C. have been using the open textbooks this is the first time we have heard of a program in Africa using the open textbooks at such a scale.

The following is a map of all of the locations of the known adoptions of the BC Open Textbook collection.

B.C. Open Textbook collection around the world

Are you using an open textbook from the BC Open Textbook collection? We’d love to hear from you.

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