Open UBC

Open Snapshots: Thoughts & Processes

 

I’ve been publishing reports that attempt to capture a snapshot of the impacts and trends of open textbook and OER use at UBC for a few years now. I occasionally get questions about the process for developing the report and, somewhat belatedly, I thought I’d occasionally post some of my documentation and thinking of how I do the reports here.

In terms of the cost savings and student impacts of using open resources, here’s some general notes on what I capture and the calculations and assumptions that I make:

Guidelines for Inclusion

  • To be included in the snapshot, there should be no textbook fees/costs for students
    • Many courses use OER to supplement paid materials, however, these snapshots attempt to track courses in which OER has replaced paid resources
  • To be included in the report, materials do not necessarily have to be openly licensed but should be freely and openly accessible at a minimum. At UBC, such resources often take the form of instructor created custom course notes, interactive media, textbooks, and other learning resources that the instructor has created and posted publicly online but which do not include a stated permission for reuse and/or an open license, such as a Creative Commons license.
  • Materials should be on the open web and linkable from the report appendix; if materials are not on the open web (i.e unique course notes that the instructor has developed), the instructor should be able to provide a copy of the materials to share.

Questions to ask specific course instructors:

  • Using OER in place of textbook (Y/N)
  • Specific sections using the OER – this is important as all sections cannot be assumed to use the same resources; specific sections must be confirmed.
  • Title and cost of displaced textbook (note, I also try to independently confirm cost)
  • Title and link to the specific OER being used
  • All past terms and specific sections (going back five years) that have used that OER
  • If they know other instructors using OER

Estimations and Assumptions:

  • Use Planing and Institutional Reporting (PAIR) enrolment data to look up actual enrolments on a per section basis (for specific year/term) – this is important as instructors can slightly off on the exact size of their classes
  • Per BCcampus & OpenStax formulations, cost savings should be estimated as a range to take into account all options students have for acquiring a text. To estimate the minimum cost savings range, use $100 for minimum savings range. Maximum savings should be estimated based on the actual cost of replaced book.
    • If replaced book was less than $100, use the actual amount for minimum savings range.
    • If cost or displaced  is unknown: Search the UBC bookstore to estimate cost; use $100 if price cannot be determined
    • If no text is identified as having been replaced in the last five years, use $100.
  • Note: only confirmed OER use should be included in the snapshot; reports on use from OpenStax, BCcampus should be confirmed locally.

I’m always looking to improve and refine these reports. If you have any suggestions, thoughts, questions, please let me know!

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Open UBC

Significant Commitments to Open Resources at UBC

In the fall of 2019, the Office of the Provost and the Vice-President Academic at UBC Vancouver committed one million dollars, $250,000 in annual funding for four years, to support the adoption, use, and sustainment of open educational resources (OER) at UBC. This grant funding initiative builds upon significant contributions and commitments that UBC faculty, students and staff have already made to using OER at UBC.

In the 2019/20 academic year (September 2019 to April 2020), an estimated 18,440 students enrolled in courses using open resources in place of paid textbooks or readings. This replacement of traditional textbooks with open resources has potentially saved UBC students an estimated $1.8 to $2.5 million this academic year. In acknowledgement of these efforts, the UBC Vancouver Alma Mater Society (AMS), the Provost and Vice-President Academic, and the UBC Library recognized over 55 UBCV faculty and staff as “OER Champions” who have made a significant contribution to the use of open educational resources at UBCV.

Read my full report here…

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Open UBC

Significant Use of Open Resources at UBC

In 2018, UBC published a new Strategic Plan that articulated the intention to expand the creation and dissemination of open educational resources as well as recognized the contributions that UBC faculty, student and staff have made in this area.

These contributions have had a significant impact: in academic year 2018, an estimated 15,388 students were impacted by courses using open resources in place of paid textbooks or readings. This replacement of traditional textbooks with open resources has potentially saved UBC students an estimated $1.5 to $2.3 million dollars this academic year. The wide diversity of UBC open education initiatives and efforts, from strong AMS advocacy and innovative instructor efforts to increased strategic support and funding, is helping to ensure that the adoption and use of open resources continues to be a significant practice at UBC.

Read my full report here…

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