The world's first open textbooks released in the same month but on different continents

16 May 2014
The world's first open textbooks released in the same month but on different continents

Poland and Canada release the first open textbooks under Creative Commons licenses. 

Canada's peer-reviewed open textbooks now online


In 2012, British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education (Canada) announced plans to create open textbook for the 40 most popular (highest enrolment) courses in first and second year of the post-secondary education system.


A look at the BCcampus Open Textbook Project from BCcampus on Vimeo.


The first textbooks are now available online. They can be downloaded for free in epub and mobi formats. Learners can also purchase a print copy for a low cost. The textbooks are published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, meaning that they can be modified and republished non-commercially, as long as they are properly attributed and licensed under identical terms.


Mary Burgess, Director of Curriculum Services and Applied Research at BCcampus, commented:


“I think open textbooks are going to change the world. Fundamentally the reason why we are doing this project is to increase access to higher education by lowering costs.”


Poland leading the way in Europe


Nine time zones away, Poland has been tracing a similar path.  In April 2012 the Polish Council of Ministers committed 43 million PLN to develop open textbooks for grades 4 to 6 in primary schools.


“We hope the program will open not only discussion about the role and importance of open educational resources in schools, but will also widespread its use in schools,” said Kamil Śliwowski, education lead of Creative Commons Poland.  “Free and open textbooks are what parents and teachers demanded for years, now we will be able to observe how they will work in practice.”




In April 2014, the Polish Ministry of Education released an open primer textbook, “Elementarz,” for the first grade of elementary school. The textbook is licensed under a Creative Commons BY license, meaning that it can be remixed, repurposed, and redistributed for any purpose as long as it is properly attributed.


The complete set of core curriculum textbooks for K-12 are still being developed under the Digital School program. 


View user profile.

Thanks for the clarification

Dear Tori, 


Thank you for the additional information and for pointing us in the direction of some other excellent resources. It's encouraging to discover that the open textbook sector is much more extensive than we realised!


Best wishes from the team at Open Education Europa

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We're not the world

Congratulations to Poland for this open textbook project, and for joining a growing movement toward open educational resources. We believe OER can transform education for the better, and we are pleased you have chosen to highlight our open textbook project in your pages.

We would like to proudly state that, contrary to your headline which states "The World's First Open Textbooks Released..." we proudly borrowed most of our open textbooks from other sources already available online. In particular, Rice University's OpenStax college.

We have used, re-used, and remixed much of our content from OpenStax and other sources, but we are also creating new texts for use in the British Columbia system. All our textbooks are in turn available for re-use and re-mixing under the terms of the Creative Commons licenses.

Best of luck with your project, and welcome to the world of Open Educational Resources. 

Kindest regards,

Tori Klassen, Director, Communications


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Publication Date
 16 May 2014
Area of interest:
Higher Education
Pan European
North America