On September 11, 2015, Manitoba’s Minister of Education and Advanced Learning announced the Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to make higher education more accessible by reducing students costs through the use of openly licensed textbooks in Manitoba.
Campus Manitoba and BCcampus have partnered to build a website that allows students and faculty to browse, view, and download open textbooks for use in their courses. The textbooks in our catalogue have all been created, reviewed, or adapted by faculty at post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.
We have published open textbook reviews by Manitoba faculty on this website. The Manitoba government has agreed to fund 25 faculty reviews of the textbooks in our collection, with support provided by Campus Manitoba and BCcampus. Our call for open textbook reviews is important to the goals of creating faculty engagement, assuring the quality of learning resources, and reducing costs for students.
About Open Textbooks and Open Educational Resources
Open textbooks are a type of open educational resource, commonly referred to as OER, which are educational materials published under an open license, such as Creative Commons.
Publications with open licenses can be shared and customized by each user for a variety of purposes. The Hewlett Foundation’s definition is a widely accepted way of thinking about open educational resources, which they call “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others.”
Open textbooks are important to the post-secondary culture in Manitoba because they have the potential to
- make education more affordable and accessible for students
- improve learning experiences by allowing faculty to customize resources
- create possibilities for sharing, creating, and collaborating to expand knowledge
What characteristics make a resource “open”? What permissions should users have with open educational resources? David Wiley’s 5 R’s of open education provides a clear summary of how to answer these questions:
- Retain – You are welcome to download and keep the materials whether you are an author, an instructor, or a student.
- Reuse – You are free to use materials in a wide variety of ways without expressly asking permission of the copyright holder.
- Revise – You can adapt, alter, or modify the content to suit specific purposes, such as educators who make the material more relevant to their students. You can also make the resource available in a number of different formats.
- Remix – You can pull together a number of different resources to create something new.
- Redistribute – You are free to share with others, so they can reuse, remix, improve upon, correct, or review the work.