Celebrating 10 Years of Open Textbooks in B.C.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the B.C. Open Textbook Collection, and we’re celebrating the collection all year long.

Post by Clint Lalonde, project manager, Open Education Project Manager at BCcampus

10 years B.C. Open Textbook Collection logo

Flashback to 2012. Psy’s “Gangnam Style” was a YouTube sensation, becoming the first video to log over a billion views. At the box office, The Hunger GamesThe Avengers, and the first of the Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, were at the top. And post-secondary students in B.C. were paying millions of dollars each year in textbook costs. 

Timeline of Open Textbook adoptions (cumulative)

2012: 15
2013: 76
2014: 205
2015: 494
2016: 1067
2017: 1748
2018: 2536
2019: 3307
2020: 4305
2021: 5350
2022: 5860
Timeline of Open Textbook adoptions (cumulative)

In fall 2012, at the annual Open Education Conference in Vancouver, B.C., the provincial government announced a new initiative to address that final point. The Ministry of Advanced Education (now the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training) announced the initial round of funding for the creation of a new open textbook collection with a goal of curating and creating a collection of openly licensed, cost-free textbooks that aligned with the top 40 enrolled subject areas in the B.C. post-secondary system.

In the 10 years since that announcement, the B.C. Open Textbook Collection has become a monumental success. The collection has grown to include close to 400 open textbooks, open educational resource publishing guides, and other open resources. Open textbooks from the collection have been adopted by thousands of educators in the province.

Even more amazing, the project has just passed an incredible milestone of $30 million in student savings on textbook costs.

Timeline of cumulative student savings

2012: $0
2013: $60,000
2014: $352,000
2015: $1.2 million
2016: $2.8 million
2017: $4.7 million
2018: $8.8 million
2019: $10 million
2020: $18.2 million
2021: $24 million
Timeline of cumulative student savings

As part of our year-long celebration, we have planned a number of events and activities to showcase the collection, including;

  • A four-part radio/podcast series about the project, including interviews with people who have been influential in making the open textbook collection a reality and those who have been directly impacted by the project. This radio series will be broadcast as part of the BCcampus weekly Lunchable Learning Radio Show hosted by Helena Prins and Leva Lee. Be sure to tune in!
  • A series of 10 blog posts over the year, with each post outlining significant developments from a specific year in open textbooks.
  • The release of a new B.C. Open Textbook Collection website and repository with an expanded selection of course materials beyond textbooks, including made-in-B.C., fully designed and developed, ready-to-use, and ready-to-customize openly licensed courses.

We also plan to be out and about (both virtually and in person when safe) at various open education conferences telling the story of our 10-year journey, starting with our Open Education Week presentation, “How It Started/How It’s Going: 10 Years of Open Textbooks in B.C.” with BCcampus open education project managers Melanie Meyers and Clint Lalonde at 1:00 p.m. PT on Wednesday March 9.

Finally, depending on pandemic developments, we are tentatively planning a COVID-safe in-person celebration somewhere in the Lower Mainland in June 2022, where we plan to acknowledge the many contributions by B.C. educators that have led to the success of the project. 

Join us as we celebrate the 10-year story of open textbooks in B.C!

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