Open textbook campaign here to stay

TRUSU’s president details plans and dreams for campaign and what students can expect

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The open textbook campaign was introduced in September 2016 by TRU’s Student Union. The program is focused on eliminating the high cost of textbooks that adds financial stress for students. The campaign supports faculty who use copyright-free textbooks in their courses so students don’t need to purchase a textbook for that class.

TRUSU president Tatiana Gilbert said that this year they plan to build upon their successes from last year’s campaign.

“Last year we had over 1,800 signatures of support from students, which makes sense. The open textbook program will be able to save students money. It has enormous potential and is an incredible opportunity, not only for students but for faculty members who choose to write an open textbook and take advantage of the program,” Gilbert said.

TRUSU has presented and discussed the importance of the open textbook campaign with every faculty council, the most exciting of which was the academic and planning priorities committee.

“That’s one of the highest decision-making committees at TRU of senate, and we were fortunate enough to receive an endorsement from them,” Gilbert said.

The endorsement will help keep the campaign on the committee’s mind, get it into conversations higher up in TRU and will hopefully result in investment funds in the future.

“Seeing that it’s something that they value as being an academic priority and endorsing us for that was a huge success,” Gilbert said.

Along with that endorsement, TRUSU has also established a partnership with the university library and open learning. Gilbert says that they will be looking at developing a funding request for the open textbooks program in October of this year.

“It’s still in the early stages but we’re really looking to move forward because it’s so incredibly advantageous to students and for faculty members who decide to take up the program,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert adds that moving forward with this campaign will include finding funding but also informing TRU’s population on the program.

“We would like to continue informing students about the program and continuing discussion with faculty members about the open textbook program and having some more feedback with that. But more than anything, we are just excited to implements this hopefully as soon as we can and get approval and have that as a resource for staff and faculty who are looking to write their own open textbooks.”

Students and staff can find open textbook resources at libguides.tru.ca/oer/opentextbooks.