Flat World Knowledge: Open College Textbooks by opensource.com (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7FkcGW

Flat World Knowledge: Open College Textbooks by opensource.com (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7FkcGW


Finance Committee Recommends Canadian Government Funding for Open Educational Resources

Earlier this year, the Ontario government made a big commitment to open textbooks, investing millions of dollars to create new open texts in fields such as history, finance, politics, the environment, engineering, and the sciences. The resulting open textbook library at ECampusOntario now features hundreds of texts that are free to use for everyone. The Ontario initiative follows leadership in the open educational resource field from BC Campus and its open textbook project. The BC effort has saved students millions of dollars with adoptions by dozens of institutions putting them into use in hundreds of faculties for over 1600 courses.

While the provinces have led on open educational resources, there may now be an opening for the federal government to support the development and distribution of OERs. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance as part of its budget consultations and specifically recommended that:

the Tri-Agencies [SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR] create a pilot grant program, at an estimated $8 million, to support the development and distribution of OERs.

CASA noted the cost savings from OER along with innovative learning benefits that come from open education. The Finance Committee agreed, directly adopting the CASA’s recommendation:

Recommendation 19
Support a pilot grant through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research that would provide students and faculty with an incentive to develop open educational resources.

The introduction of federal OER commitment would be welcome development, both by signalling its importance and by paving the way for more open materials that could be used by students and teachers from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

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One Comment

  1. My daughter worked with MIT Legal Staff to develop an MIT Open Publishing Policy while she was completing her Chemical Oceanography PhD in the MIT / WHOI Joint Program. http://oceans.mit.edu/tag/cara-manning

    On another topic, thank you for ending the “Business Card Exemption” in Canada. I cited that on BC OIPC complaint F18-73135, regarding my name and a spam trap email address being scanned by local councillor Ben Isitt from an attendance sheet being circulated at a UVic panel discussion on Privacy 5 years ago. I used the spam trap address to check for spammers in the audience, since this has happened with previous such sheets circulated at local IT related meetings. Councillor Isitt was seated 2 rows behind me and quickly began sending me political spam at that spam trap address. He passed it along to BC’s Socialist Alliance and to other local council candidates, leading to a never ending series of unsolicited political spam messages sent to email address despite repeated promises to stop doing that.

    My wife and I avoid provincial and municipal personalised Canada Post spam by being protected voters and opting out of BC “Motor Voter” program, that propagates addresses from annual vehicle licence renewals to BC’s Elections Branch, and by requesting Protected Voter status, which is confirmed by mail before each election. For the Federal list we opt out of the CRA Income Tax Exchange with Elections Canada, but still get unsolicited personalised spam, particularly from the NDP.

    The Federal Government should adopt an equivalent Protected Voter provision to allow voters to have their names and addresses protected from parties and Candidates that they may find objectionable and which data mine the information for inconsistent purposes. Under Harper the Federal Conservative Party engaged in wide spread abuses of personal information, including the Robo Call frauds, particularly here in Saanich Gulf Islands http://ottawacitizen.com/news/i-was-the-first-victim-of-robocalls/wcm/3ad47786-553a-48cb-8e42-6dee09da90eb