Open education book fair coming to KPU’s Surrey campus

The event will be hosted by KPU’s open education department

The Open Ed Book Fair takes place on Wednesday, May 31 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm in the Spruce Atrium at the Surrey campus and is the first of its kind at KPU. (Submitted/Abby Luciano)

The Open Ed Book Fair takes place on Wednesday, May 31 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm in the Spruce Atrium at the Surrey campus and is the first of its kind at KPU. (Submitted/Abby Luciano)

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s open education department is hosting a book fair on May 31 at the Surrey campus’ Spruce Atrium from 12:00 to 2:00 pm. This is the first time an open ed book fair of this kind will be hosted at KPU. 

The event will feature open educational resources (OERs), which are materials that have been published by KPU instructors over the past year. These resources are free and can replace textbooks that students would otherwise have to purchase for their classes. 

“We want to begin celebrating [our faculty’s] work with the KPU community and recognize the hard work that goes into creating these resources,” wrote Amanda Grey, open education strategist for teaching and learning commons at KPU, in an email statement to The Runner.  

During the book fair, faculty members will talk about the books they have published.

“Each author has their own table so attendees can walk around, browse, and see which books catch their interest,” Grey wrote.   

“Students can also come and learn about our Zero Textbook Cost Initiative and how we are leveraging OERs to provide classes and credentials that do not require students to pay for textbooks.”

OERs give instructors the opportunity to have control over the cost of resources they use for their classes, which can sometimes be difficult with costly publishing companies. 

“OERs support context specific information sharing, they allow faculty to customize material for learning needs and to select only material appropriate for the course learning outcomes,” Leeann Waddington, associate vice president of teaching and learning at KPU, wrote in an email statement to The Runner

Making course materials more relevant to class work and accessible to student’s needs has had a positive impact on students. 

“Doing this increases the relevance of the material for students, this has been shown to increase student motivation and to help them clearly identify how the content is meaningful,” Waddington wrote. 

Many KPU students struggle to access outside materials for their classes, which prevents them from taking the classes they need. 

Last fall, 353 courses at KPU used the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) initiative, ensuring students would not have to purchase textbooks and were only required to use free, online resources for their classes. 

“For students, OERs are important because they reduce at least one barrier that many students face during their studies: cost,” Grey wrote.

“Open Education encourages the sharing and dispersion of knowledge without, or at least with lower, barriers to access it.” 

Although many instructors support the ZTC initiative, it only covered 21 per cent of all courses last fall. Many English and science courses still require the purchase of textbooks.  

“We hope that students learn that our faculty members are aware of at least some of the needs and barriers that students face.” Grey wrote. “We hope to make this an annual event and continue to honour the work that KPU faculty are doing in this area.”