Each year the prices of textbooks increases, and post-secondary students are forced to pay a lot for their books.
A campaign that started at the University of British Columbia has made its way over to Alberta and U of C SU vice-president academic Alicia Lunz has been overseeing a campaign here.
The campaign’s goal is to increase awareness of the high costs of textbooks by the provincial government and to have it provide funding for open educational resources (OER).
Lunz has even gone forward to approach multiple institutions including Mount Royal University and the University of Lethbridge to participate in #TextbookBrokeAB.
OER are free learning materials that can be found online that could be used as substitutes for the expensive textbooks required in some courses.
The OER resources have been around for years, but universities are pushing to get this resource implemented into more classrooms.
The high price of textbooks can have a serious effect on a student’s education and their post-secondary experience overall.
“The university has to remember that these are their future alumni,” said Lunz.
“Their education is now suffering because they didn’t take the class because the textbook was too expensive.”
Although a handful of departments, such as some Spanish, geoscience, math, stats and logic classes tried out OERs this fall, Lunz wants more faculties to look into this resource, as they will be hitting the big first-year classes in the future.
“There needs to be a student push to get more faculty aware and involved,” said Lunz.
“There’s a handful [of faculty] that do, but I don’t think there’s a lot of faculty that know about OERs, that they are an option and they can be adapted easily into their courses.”
Lunz hopes that by aiming to get OER into first-year classes it will make an impact on students.
We’re kind of like the raindrop and the ripple effect – we’re starting to see it where it’s starting to get bigger and bigger. – Alicia Lunz
“If we could hit those big first year classes right off the bat, I think it’d have a huge effect on the student experience,” said Lunz.
More schools across the country are starting to make their own initiatives, and Lunz hopes that this will make a bigger statement to the provincial government about the cost of textbooks and that funding is needed.
“We’re kind of like the raindrop and the ripple effect – we’re starting to see it where it’s starting to get bigger and bigger,” she said.