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In the COVID-19 world, open source textbooks are the way of the future

Kyle Hiebert – National Post: “Universities have the chance to save students huge sums of money by ramping up the creation and use of open educational resources, particularly open textbooks…Long story short, any current or aspiring post-secondary student looking to go to college or university anytime soon will likely end up doing so largely online and will be further financially stressed because of it. The prime benefit of adopting OER — which is defined as digital learning materials offered for free through Creative Commons licenses — is that it greatly reduces the cost of receiving a post-secondary education. The average student in Canada taking a full course load will spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars a year on textbooks. That is on top of tuition, which is also on the rise. The most significant cost is for textbooks for year-long introductory courses in major subjects — think chemistry, psychology, accounting, biology, sociology, engineering, physics and others. However, the core concepts students need in order to gain a grounding in these disciplines remains relatively static year-to-year, and high-quality, peer-reviewed open textbooks for these courses already exist for free in digital form as downloadable PDFs. And online classes necessitate that any learning material be provided digitally, anyway…”

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