Textbook project celebrated during Open Access Week

By College Relations | October 20, 2020

Open Education Resources

Students at Okanagan College have many reasons to celebrate Open Access Week – more than a million in fact.

Since 2013, access to open education resources (OERs) and free access e-texts through the College’s library has saved students more than $1 million and that number continues to pick up the pace with each semester.

A new OER developed by Okanagan School of Business Professor Michael Orwick is just one of those resources that is enhancing access to information and improving student outcomes, all while saving students money.

“We used an open textbook (Principles of Marketing) last year and found that — while it saved the students money — without any support material, it created more work than we could handle because it lacked test banks, PowerPoints, quizzes, videos, flashcards and such,” Orwick explained, adding that the lack of additional materials created a barrier for students in completing the required readings.

He applied for a BCcampus grant designed to encourage the development of OERs across the province, with the goal of possibly creating a “zero textbook cost” program in marketing.

“The investment in creating peripheral material offered a chance to make the open textbook a more valuable tool; one that is flexible and adaptable for each specific class,” Orwick said.

“I really appreciate being able to use a free textbook. As a student on a fixed income it really helps with the finical burden of school,” adds OC business student Laurissa Ivany.

With students not having to spend money on the textbook or ancillary materials, Orwick estimates the one-year savings to marketing students to be $65,000. Orwick contributes to the more than $658,000 in savings overall that OC students have seen thanks to OER adoption since 2013.

OC Kelowna

While cost is one barrier that is reduced when faculty choose to use an open textbook, there are other benefits as well. Students can access the resources in different ways: a downloadable PDF, an online format or even in some cases a format maximized for mobile devices, which adds to their ability to read and learn in multiple locations.

Also saving students money and offering increased flexibility are the free access e-texts offered by the College’s library. Since June 2018, these resources have yielded more than $420,000 in textbook savings for students.

Roen Janyk, Web Services Librarian at OC notes: “The Library has long been supportive of initiatives that support open education and equitable access to information. Whether it is through open teaching resources such as H5P, or our e-textbook program, these examples demonstrate how small investments made by the College can have profound impacts on our students, instructors, and faculty. We have shown that it is possible to create more affordable and equitable access to educational resources.”

To mark Open Education Week, Janyk is presenting on the topic virtually, along with colleagues from four other BC post-secondary institutions, during a webinar offered by BCcampus. Tune in to watch “Open Access in Action: Tales from Five Institutions,” on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. Details can be found on the BCcampus events page: https://bccampus.ca/events/.

Open Access Week is an annual, global event to raise awareness about open access and to call for open access to be the norm in scholarship and research. This year’s theme is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.”

“Accessibility of learning materials is a key component of an accessible and inclusive learning environment. Okanagan College is taking strides to remove the barriers of traditional learning materials, and the work by Okanagan School of Business is an example of how education can be more accessible and equitable,” said Meri Kim Oliver, Vice President Students of Okanagan College.

Tags: Okanagan School of Business, Library, Open Education Resources



Sign up for weekly stories


Communications student standing outside the Centre for Learning building at the Kelowna campus
Meet Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores

April 4, 2023

Q: What's your name? A: Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores Q: What's your hometown? A: Quito – Ecuador – South America Q: How did you end up at Okanagan College? A: Well, I studied for a bachelor's degree in Law in Ecuador. Then, I worked for a while and got my Master's degree in Government and Culture of Organizations at the University of Pamplona.  When I returned to my country, professional opportunities arose for me. I mean, a Master's degree improved my career. Spain helped me develop ...

Animation student
Artistic students design future careers in animation

June 7, 2022

Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...

JAMK campus
OC Business students embrace international study again

May 30, 2022

Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences.  Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.  OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critical thinkin...

Enactus 2022
Enactus Okanagan College tops the field, sets sights on national championships

May 27, 2022

Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...