Student Textbooks are a vital part of teaching and learning in any academic institution. As such in higher learning institutions, it is the role of the institution’s library to have enough student text books on many of the courses the institution offers. However, in Papua New Guinea, one of main problems students face in tertiary educational institutes is the lack of fully resourced library resources and services. Most of the institutions do have libraries but, in most cases, student text books are outdated and with low budgetary allocation, libraries are struggling to keep up with latest publications in industry magazines, journals and books. There could be few institutions with very good library services with decent books to suit all the students that are studying in the different Programs.
Another problem with libraries in the institutions is that although, they do purchase student text books but may not be enough to cover all the various courses taught under the different programs. So, even though the library may purchase books but they often buy limited numbers for each of the programs on offer.
TESAS Student Text Book Allowance.
Although, the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST)’s does give book allowance to students under the AES and HECAS scholarship, the amount may not be enough to cover for all the courses a student may take. Normally, in the case of Foundation Year students, for example University of PNG and PNG University of Technology(Unitech) the students take more than five courses per semester and the allowance may not be enough to buy recommended textbooks for both semesters. In addition to that, respective book shops may not order enough of the recommended text books because for them, there is no guarantee that every student will buy a recommended course textbook. So, they kind of spread among all recommended textbooks when they order. This can lead to courses with high number of students recommended textbook being sold out quickly leaving some of the students taking that particular course not being able to buy the book with their book allowances. Yet the lecturers might expect students to buy the recommended textbook and base their lectures and tutorials with reference to Text book chapter and exercise, while some of the students do not the recommended textbook at all.
Solution to Student Textbook Access Problem.
The problem is not only faced by Papua New Guinean students. It is faced by students the world over in all the higher learning institutes as well as technical skills-oriented training school. Realizing this problem, there are kind organizations like the Hewlett Foundation (HP Foundation) and major universities in the US and others around the world began investing in Open Educational Resources (OERs) since 2002.. “OERs which are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose”. There OER movement is supported by so many organizations around the world. This includes not only civil organizations but also government education departments and multilateral organizations like the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and a host of others. These organizations engage content creators (text book writers, video creators, course developers etc) to create content (books, courses, videos, lecturers etc) and make them available to the general public to access, modify to suit their local context , adopt it and use it free of charge. Most of these learning materials are freely available on the internet for students, parents, lecturers, and anybody to view, download and use for their learning and teaching.
Finding the Right Student Text Book Website on the Internet.
Because most of the institutions in Papua New Guinea don’t have good institution provided Internet connectivity for students and staff, the potential for OER use and adoption is not that strong. In most cases, students subscribe to internet data access through their mobile phones which is quite expensive. So, finding the right website to download quality learning materials can be quite difficult. Doing a normal google search may result in so many possible website links, students might end up wasting their phone data credits just on looking up those links rather than going direct to a website and download a quality textbook.
Here some very credible and easy to use student textbook websites which can of be huge benefit to Papua New Guinea students. With less mobile phone internet data credit, a student can download some quality student textbooks from these sites.
A very comprehensive file sharing site. Hosts a wide range of student textbooks ranging from academic subjects to general knowledge streams. Very easy to navigate with a powerful search box to search for specific books and all the files are in pd format and are absolutely free. One of the must go to sites for quality student text books.
This website is the hub of all the Open Educational Resources (OERs) providers. Students can search for books by providers as well as by subjects. This is more less like a OER directory, bringing together all provider’s OER materials.
3:Commonwealth of Learning OASIS
This is the knowledge depository of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). COL is the organization that is in charge of supporting Education in all of the commonwealth nations, including Papua New Guinea. They support education from primary, secondary, higher education, skills based training courses down to inclusive education, dealing with education for people with special needs and those in conflict and disaster zones in the world. Full of uptodate books, journal article, and research papers on education, ICT Use and etc. Very student text book source for students studying for Education and Social Development majors. Also for teachers and those working in the Education Sector in PNG.
4:Open Textbook Library
The Open Textbook Library is hosted by the University of Minnesota in the US. The University of Minnesota is one of the pioneer institutions in the OER movement and the site hosts as great deal of Open or Free Student Textbooks in various subject categories. Visitors on the site have the option, to read online while on site and download a textbook in different file formats such as pdf, pdf digital, EPUB, MOBI. This means, the textbooks can be read from different digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and etc.
5: List of OER Providers
Below is the link page on www.oercommons.org. which have links to all the institutions and organizations around the world which have Student Textbooks available under EOR free licence.
6: World Reports, Research and Publications
Students can pick up the latest publications on development, business, economics and etc by going to the multilateral organizations resources websites. Here are few of them.
World bank Research and Publications
Hosts the bank’s vast knowledge resources which can be searched by Collection (Reprints, books, Reports, technical papers), by Topic (eg, Agriculture, Engergy, Education, Infrastructure etc), and by Regions (Country, region and etc).
This is a great place for students studying business, economics, political sciences and etc which have wider world application context.
This is the mother library of all United Nations agencies research and publications. Since United Nations have agencies in all sectors of the economy, development and social development, this is great place to pick up latest research, journal articles, books, and etc.
Word Resources Institute
A world resource institute is a bring together research and publications that are related to major world resources under one organization. Great site to pick up latest student textbooks and research papers and etc on major world resources like Oil, Water, Ocean, Rivers, Forests, Energy and Climate Change.