British Columbia will offer free online textbooks

British Columbia will soon be the first Canadian province to offer post-secondary students free online textbooks for the 40 most popular post-secondary courses.

The government says up to two hundred thousand B.C. students each year will benefit from this. The hundreds of dollars students save each year can go toward other learning supplies, living expenses, etc.

Minister of Advanced Education John Yap says, “By taking advantage of technology, more people can get the learning they need in the knowledge economy and access to new or better jobs. This innovative step under B.C.’s Families First Agenda, is an example of how our government is making our world-class education system even better, while increasing accessibility and affordability for students and their families.”

An open textbook is generally published under an open license and can be read online or downloaded for free. If you want a hard copy, the book will be available for printing at a fraction of traditional textbook costs.

Because open textbooks are digital and, well.. open, they can be modified and adapted  by  instructors to fit different courses. The B.C. government says it will work with post-secondary institutions in carrying out an open textbook policy.

The government hopes this will take effect as early as 2013-2014.

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