Geography & Open Textbooks

As the school year begins, students always scramble to find the money for all those expensive textbooks that are required reading for their courses. What’s better than cheap textbooks with a guaranteed buyback? How about free, open textbooks that are available in multiple formats!

Okanagan College Geography, Earth, and Environmental Science professor Dr. Arthur ‘Gill’ Green has been working on just such a textbook with colleagues from across British Columbia. Full of case studies, lesson plan activities, and the latest facts on British Columbia, the open textbook is ready for adoption and adaption. It is the first geography open textbook of its kind!

Published in September 2014 by BCcampus OpenEd, the new textbook that he and the team of geography professors produced is available for download at the below links.

This textbook is best for regional geography courses focused on BC, but it also is remixable! So, any of the content can be adapted as long as it follows the Creative Commons license (CC-BY-4.0) . As cited in the introduction, “This first year Geography textbook takes a holistic approach to Geography by incorporating elements of physical, human and regional geography, as well as bringing in methods and perspectives from spatial information science.. This textbook applies a fundamental geographical approach to understanding our globally changing world by looking at local processes which are linked to larger global processes and events. For example mining and its effects are a global issue and we can see how these unfold in BC. A further example is the recent apology to First Nation peoples on the residential school treatment, as similar events occur in the US, Ireland and Australia. Processes of urbanization, a phenomenon which people all over the globe are experiencing, can be seen in Vancouver with our discussion of the city’s development. Geography students, indeed all first year students, need to be able to critically assess their own contexts and environments in order to properly engage with our continually globalizing world.”

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