Good news for Ontario students - a new initiative that aims to provide free online textbooks and educational resources will make going to school much more affordable.
The Ontario government has partnered with eCampusOntario, a not-for-profit corporation comprising of all publicly-funded colleges and universities in the province. Together, they are working to expand an open online library of free and low-cost digital textbooks to students across the province.
Ontario has invested $1 million to the Ontario Open Textbooks Initiative, which will focus on provincial-specific curriculums. It is intended to significantly reduce costs for high-enrolment first year courses, French language content, content for Indigenous studies, trades and technical skills content, and content for new Canadians.
“Paying for textbooks is a challenge for too many students," says Deb Matthews, the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. "By supporting a movement of free online textbooks and other open educational resources, we are removing yet another financial barrier to accessing post-secondary education in Ontario—so our students can stay focused on learning, and less on paying for their higher education.”
All open textbooks are licensed under an open copyright license, which means they can be made available for public use. New materials developed for Ontario will be added to the eCampusOntario online library as they are released.
eCampusOntario is also a portal for learners to find online courses and programs. Courses listed on the website include links to scheduling information, tuition and fees, and registration details.
The online library launched on June 6, 2017 and is now available for students to use for the upcoming school year. Currently, the open online library has more than 180 titles listed. There's even a service to get your textbook printed and bound at low cost through the University of Waterloo.