News Article

#TextbookBrokeAB

Created on Wed Jan 3, 2018

#TEXTBOOKBROKEAB

WANT TO WIN BACK YOUR TEXTBOOK MONEY AND FIND OUT HOW TO KEEP SAVING ON COURSE MATERIALS?

Visit us beside the Bookstore January 9th-11th from 12-3pm and tell us how much you've spent on textbooks! We'll snap a photo of you holding a whiteboard on which we'll ask you to write your total textbook value, and then add it to our Facebook album. Fill out the ULSU #TextbookBrokeAB survey. By either taking a picture or doing the survey you will be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore! If you do both that will double your chance of winning the gift card!

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

"#TextbookBrokeAB" is a provincial campaign that will be carried out simultaneously by the Student Unions of five major Alberta universities in the upcoming weeks: the University of Lethbridge, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, Grant MacEwan University, and Mount Royal University. The intention of the campaign is to create awareness of on-the-rise textbook prices, as well as to promote affordable and accessible resources, such as Open Educational Resources (OER), as alternatives to the traditional practice.

It has been estimated that students in Alberta pay anywhere from $1000-$1700 on textbooks each year. This works out to the equivalent of more than a few months rent or several grocery bills. With the upcoming release of the tuition cap this April, every single one of those dollars will make a world of difference to a post-secondary student.

By using the hashtag "#TextbookBrokeAB", we will be able to share this information via social media with relevant legislative bodies in hopes that they will work towards a stabilized funding model for OERs in Alberta. With such a model in place, we will be able to work towards removing financial barriers to education as well as create opportunities to involve students in the production of OERs. Students will also be encouraged to engage in dialogue with their professors about OERs, and to search independently for OERs that their professors may be able to use in place of an expensive textbook.

WHAT IS AN OER?

Open Educational Resources are openly licensed and freely accessible learning, teaching, and research materials that utilize an open, Creative Commons copyright licence. This means that they can be used, reorganized and adapted by anyone, free of charge. They are typically in digital format and can exist as text documents as well as other forms of interactive media. The best part? These resources already exist! They are FREE for anyone to access and FREE for anyone to use!

The ULSU is proud to support the open education movement by supporting the implementation of OERs in our classrooms.

BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS:

Reduced costs of expensive course materials such as textbooks remove financial barriers to education.
Opportunities for students to become involved in the creation and circulation of these materials, meanwhile gaining experience in their field of study.
Students will feel more inclined to utilize an educational resource that is more readily accessible to them.
Students are more likely to excel if they have access to and can afford resources that complement the content covered in the classroom.

BENEFITS FOR FACULTY:

Power to customize educational materials to best suit their course, their students, and their own teaching style.
Ease of updating course materials to reflect new research.
Students will appreciate that a professor has been thoughtful in considering their financial situation when choosing course materials. This fosters stronger, more personal relationships between students and faculty.

A campus that supports open access is a campus that promotes accessible, lifelong learning to all members!

WHY DON’T WE USE THEM ALREADY?

Actually, many professors here at the U of L have already begun to move away from textbook culture by replacing them with less expensive Coursepacks, or by choosing not to use a textbook at all. Many professors have even started to champion the implementation of OER on our campus, and already use them regularly in their classes!

However, while OERs are very easy to utilize, they are still a relatively new technology and it takes a lot of work to ensure that they are comprehensive enough for professional use. These resources need to be adapted to fit the courses our professors are teaching, and it can be quite time-consuming for faculty to put these materials together, "Canadian-ize" them, and ensure that they have been adequately peer-reviewed. With funding from the provincial government, we can ensure that the people doing this work are compensated for their time. Talk to your professors about what they are already doing to consider student finances when selecting course materials!

FUNDING FOR OERs AT THE U of L

If you are a faculty member that is interested in adapting or creating openly-licensed resources as teaching materials for your courses then you might want to consider applying for the Open Acess Learning Resource Fund or the Teaching Development Fund. Both are being granted from the Teaching Center to innovative projects that positively impact student  learning and the greater university teaching community.  

HOW CAN I HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OER?

Use the hashtag #TextbookBrokeAB to let the provincial government and faculty members know that textbook prices are a serious issue today's students are facing.
Help out your professors by bringing OERs to them. If you find an online resource that compliments one of your courses, send it their way! You never know, it may even end up replacing an expensive book!
Talk to the Bookstore, Teaching Center, Library, or your faculty about what forms of open education already exist on our campus!
Come and talk to the ULSU about how we can continue to advocate for the cause!

A MESSAGE FROM THE BOOKSTORE

Your UofL Bookstore is on your side when it comes to the accessibility and affordability of course materials.  In addition to rental programs, digital initiatives, online price compare tools at lethbridge.verbacompare.com and involvement with national associations that enable us to find lower cost alternatives, we also actively support the Open Educational Resource Movement. We are very excited to see OERs gaining momentum right here at the UofL!  As OERs continue to evolve, so will the bookstore, but here are a few things that we are doing right now to help move this initiative forward:

•          TEXTFINDER: We include listings of required OERs on Textfinder so that you can continue to see all required course materials “at-a-glance”.

•          PRINT-ON-DEMAND: We provide inexpensive print-on-demand options for students who prefer to study and make notes in traditional print form.

•          COLLABORATION:  We collaborate with faculty members, the Teaching Centre and other departments on campus to ensure that OER communication and delivery is optimized.

•          EDUCATION:  We are dedicated to keeping up-to date on new trends in OERs to ensure that we are able to adjust and add services that will improve the student experience on our campus.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

Begin your research by checking out some of the following links:

www.uleth.ca/copyright

https://www.uleth.ca/teachingcentre/open-educational-resources

albertaoer.com

oercommons.org

bccampus.ca/open-textbook-project

opentextbookalliance.org/

or, by emailing your VP Academic at su.academic@uleth.ca

OTHER ALTERNATIVE TO BUYING TEXTBOOKS:

Use older editions of the textbook for your class. Be sure to email your instructor to ensure that purchasing an older edition is suitable for the class.
Faculty could design a copyright regulation compliant course pack customized to their curriculum, which are often cheaper than textbooks.
Faculty could assign journal articles accessible through the Libraries, rather than a textbook. Faculty have many options for using already-licensed full-text sources in lieu of, or in addition to, adopted course textbooks. Faculty may identify persistent links or determine whether license agreements permit posting of PDFs in E-Reserve/Moodle on their own.  Or they can ask for help, usually from their subject librarian or the University Copyright Advisor office. Find more information here:
?        Electronic Reserve

?        Moodle

?        Permitted Uses of Licensed Articles

?        Persistent Links

Faculty could link students to less expensive alternate materials, where possible, on their course website and syllabus.