#textbookbrokeBC: SFU students show how much they spend on textbooks.

By Brady Yano

The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) has been working on promoting greater usage of Open Educational Resources (OERs) through the form of open textbooks for the past year in undergraduate courses offered at Simon Fraser University. 

Back in 2012, the BC Provincial Government approved $2 million in funding for the creation of open textbooks to address the 40 most popular first and second year courses taken at post-secondary institutions across the province. While these materials (now totalling 117) were adopted at many teaching intensive institutions across the province, no research intensive institution at the time had adopted a book. As such the SFSS in August 2014 began an initiative called the BC Open Textbook campaign which aimed at educating the SFU community of the available resources and encouraging SFU faculty members to help SFU become the first research intensive institution in BC to adopt an open textbook.

Our campaign which has since been rebranded in August 2015 as #textbookbrokeBC has continued to operate with the same goals in mind. Through collaboration with other student societies, most notably the Alma Mater Society of UBC Vancouver, we ran a joint campaign aimed at raising student awareness of the high cost of textbooks. Through setting up a table outside of our campus bookstores, we asked students to stop and take a photo with us displaying the amount of money spent on textbooks. We then asked students to take further action by sharing those images on social media using our hashtags. In doing so, we successfully got students to start thinking critically about the current model while also providing information on a promising alternative model. 

Over the next few months the SFSS has plans to continue to interact with undergraduate students through visual displays such as the Textbook Graveyard. To see images from our campaign, check out #textbookbrokeBC on twitter or visit the Simon Fraser Student Society Facebook #textbookbrokeBC album here.

For more information on ways in which your institution can get involved in advocating for OER’s, contact Brady Yano at vpuniversity@sfss.ca or attend the upcoming OpenCon Vancouver Satellite event taking place November 21, 2015. Visit http://www.opencon2015.org/attend to learn more!



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