Blake Rowsell

Outdoor Recreation Program Convenor and Instructor Schools of Tourism Management & Outdoor Recreation


Why OER? 

The number one complaint that I hear from students is the high cost of text books. I’ve been using OERs for three years at Cap and the students love them. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are available to instructors and students at no cost. There are lots of great open textbooks available from BC Campus as well as some not so great textbooks. However, the amazing thing is that you can edit for your purpose. For those that like the feel of a printed text, the Capilano U bookstore is now ordering print copies of OER textbooks at a very reasonable price.

The advantages of using open educational resources (OERs) include:

  • Expanded access to learning: Students anywhere in the world can access OERs at any time.
  • Scalability: OERs are easy to distribute widely with little or no cost.
  • Augmentation of class materials: OERs can supplement commercial textbooks where deficiencies in information are evident.
  • Less expense for students: The use of OERs instead of commercial textbooks can substantially reduce the cost of course materials for students.
  • Showcasing of innovation and talent: A wide audience may learn of faculty expertise. Potential students and donors may be impressed, and student and faculty recruitment efforts may be enhanced.
  • Ties for alumni: OERs provide an excellent way for alumni to stay connected to the institution and continue with a program of lifelong learning.
  • Quick circulation and continually improved resources: OERs can be improved and disseminated quickly. Instructors can take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER available for others to use.

These advantages contribute to the University’s strategic priorities: More students on campus and building our capacity.


What Open Textbooks have you used?  

Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC for TOUR 111: Introduction to Theory and Practice and REC 111: Introduction to Commercial Outdoor Recreation and TOUR 356: Adventure Sport Event Management.

I have also used several of the open business text offerings for TOUR 255: Adventure Management, in particular Mastering Strategic Management. In addition, for TOUR 251: Food and Beverage Management I have used several of the Food and Beverage open text offerings. In these cases, I simply uploaded the text to Moodle for the students and/or provided the download link.


What would you do differently?

If I was to teach any of these courses again, I would take a little bit of time to create a custom course text from the available open resources. I know that in less than an hour I could compile a really powerful text using the open resources (chapters) that I actually wanted to use in my course. I would then have Brian Ball from the Bookstore print some copies of my open custom courseware for students to purchase. I would also upload my text to the moodle for those that prefer an e version.

I hope that in the future, I will be able to go even further and actually edit one of the open textbooks and adapt to my teaching context. I envision that I would sit down for a coffee (or two) with a few key faulty members and update a few sections of the current open textbooks that I am not particularly keen on. Of course, in the spirit of open I would allow others to use my edited version.

If you are interested in learning more or joining the OER working group please contact the CTE at