British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology has announced that it will “offer students free online, open textbooks for the 40 most popular post-secondary courses.” The textbooks will be created “created with input from B.C. faculty, institutions and publishers through an open Request for Proposal process coordinated by BCcampus, a publicly funded organization that aims to make higher education available to everyone through the smart use of collaborative information technology services.” BCcampus said in a statement that the textbooks will be made available for free under Creative Commons licenses, or available in printed form for a low cost. Executive Director David Porter explained in a statement that “Open licenses are integral to making textbooks free for students, and flexible enough for instructors to customize the material to suit their courses.”
The government expects the move will benefit up to 200,000 students each year. Creative Commons reports that individual students could save up to $1000 annually.
This comes after a similar move by California last month, when Governor Jerry Brown signed two pieces of legislation. One will create the California Open Education Resources Council to work with authors to create open textbooks for core courses, and the other will create the California Digital Open Source Library, where the will be made available under Creative Commons licenses.