It seems that the race is on to create free textbooks and British Columbia is joining the State of California in making available content for the most popular post-secondary courses.

Similar to the recent bill passed in California, the B.C. government is joining the growing movement of using Open Educational Resources and will look to start implementing its own open textbook policy in the 2013-2014 school year.

The books will be created with input from faculty, publishers, and institutions much in the same way as the California program. Of course, educators will have the option of using these free books or any books of their choosing. There’s nothing mandatory and nothing being ordered to be replaced.

The OER movement has picked up momentum over the past year, including the TAACCCT grants (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College And Career Training), as well as the California and British Columbia initiatives. The next big test will come once the books are created and we watch to see if teachers embrace them and how they use them. Creation and adoption matters, of course, but it will really all come down to usage and student benefits.

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