Government of PEI, UPEI, and UPEISU Joint News Release
Introducing UPEI’s Open Education Resource Development program
Partnership with Robertson Library, Province of PEI, and UPEISU aimed at lowering post-education costs by supporting open resources for students
Charlottetown, PEI (February 11, 2020)—UPEI’s Robertson Library, in partnership with the Province of Prince Edward Island, and the UPEI Student Union (UPEISU), has created a program to support the creation, adaptation, or peer review of open education resources (OERs) at UPEI to lower the cost of learning materials for students.
“The high cost of books has been a longstanding issue for university students, especially as textbooks go out of date so quickly,” said Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Brad Trivers. “We are pleased to collaborate on this innovative project, which will reduce costs for students and ensure that they have the materials they need to learn.”
Textbook and other learning resource costs can contribute significantly to student debt. A proven method to reduce costs and barriers to learning for students is the use of open textbooks and other types of OERs. One of the UPEISU policy priorities for 2018–2019 was an open textbook pilot project to reduce the cost of accessing educational resources.
As a result of the student union’s hard work and determined efforts, the OER Development Program at UPEI has been created at the Robertson Library, with support from the provincial government.
“What a great collaboration, and I’m really looking forward to working with librarians, instructors, and students on this initiative—a first in the region,” said Donald Moses, University Librarian at UPEI. “Leading the project will be librarian Kim Mears, who manages Pressbooks, the open source OER platform used by the library. OERs generated out of this program will reduce cost and barriers to learning by providing access to content to students in multiple formats.”
“We are extremely excited about the changes this program will bring to students in terms of affordability,” said Sweta Daboo, vice-president academic and external at the UPEISU. “Rising textbook costs pose a significant barrier to education, and this is a monumental first step in addressing that issue. We thank the Province and the University for putting the work and resources into this project and look forward to continued investments and collaboration for students.”
The funding program will run through 2020 and will be administered by the Robertson Library. It provides a variety of funding opportunities including:
- an open textbook grant to support the development of a new open textbook on a topic that is currently not covered by an existing open textbook,
- an open textbook adaptation grant to support the adaptation of one or more open textbooks to create a new version or edition of an open textbook,
- a supplementary resources grant to support the creation of ancillary materials for existing open textbooks, including, but not limited to test banks, slide decks, or interactive media, for an open textbook or other open education resource, or
- an honoraria for open textbook peer reviews to support individuals completing a formal peer review of an existing open textbook.
The funding is available to any instructor of a credit course at UPEI, and either an individual or a team can apply. For more information, see library.upei.ca/oerprogram.