Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Open Textbook Library?
eCampusOntario and BCcampus have partnered to build an Open Textbook Library website that allows students and faculty to browse, view, and download free open textbooks for use in their courses. The eCampusOntario Open Textbook Library provides digital access for all Ontarians to over 180 open textbooks created by a variety of contributors.
Since 2012, the province of British Columbia, in partnership with BCcampus and post-secondary institutions has been developing Canadian editions of open textbooks for use in province-wide teaching and learning programs. Across the spectrum of available open textbooks in B.C. there have been 1,248 adoptions among 33 participating institutions. These adoptions have resulted in approximately $4 million dollars in cost savings for B.C. learners. This has been an amazing start to expanding choice and reducing costs, but many more resources need to be developed in order for all educators and learners to be able to take advantage of open content.
Open textbooks are important to the post-secondary culture in Ontario because they have the potential to;
- Make education more affordable and accessible for students
- Improve learning experiences by allowing faculty to customize resources
- Create possibilities for sharing, creating, and collaborating to expand knowledge
How to find the Open Textbook Library?
Ontario’s Open Textbook Library can be found at openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca
Who can use the Open Textbook Library?
Ontario’s Open Textbook Library can be used by everyone. Anyone can visit openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca and download a PDF or view the mobile friendly web view – without having to create an account. You do not need to be at a particular school or any school for that matter to use textbooks from the Open Textbook Library.
Ontario educators and post-secondary institutions are invited to explore the collection and determine for themselves if any of these high-quality resources align with their programs of study or courses.
How many books are in the collection?
There are currently over 180 textbooks available in the Open Textbook Library. The library contains a collection of open textbooks aligned with the top 40 highest-enrolled subject areas in the province. There are additional textbooks targeting trades, technology, and skills training including;
- Career pathway programs and programs that cross multiple trades training programs (e.g., workplace safety).
- Oil and gas courses and programs focused on supporting the Natural Gas industry.
- Tourism/Hospitality programs.
- Adult Basic Education essential skills for trades and technical programs as well as programs focused on up-skilling and job-readiness.
- Health Care programs (e.g., Health Care Assistant, Practical Nursing and Registered Nursing).
How do I use the books?
There are multiple formats available for online reading, printing, or use on mobile devices including PDF documents, ePubs, Kindle, online versions and print on demand options.
Will there be more books?
Yes. Both eCampusOntario and BCcampus have calls for proposals to continue to adapt open textbooks for local contexts, and develop new textbooks where there are gaps in resources. Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development has recently launched a new $1Million dollar funding program for faculty to adapt and create additional texts for the open textbook library, demonstrating a clear commitment to increasing access to post secondary education by expanding choice and reducing learner resource costs.
What about the quality?
The quality of an open textbook is comparable to any other textbook. Open Textbooks are developed and reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality and to be vetted through a traditional peer review process.
As with any textbook, the instructor has the final say on whether an open textbook meets the needs of the course.
Learn more at openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca