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Paramedic Open Textbook Project

What is an Open Textbook

Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed.  These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality.  These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost.  All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization (source: Open Textbook Library).

The Paramedic Open Textbook project is in the beginning stage of an intended larger project.  This project was developed following a human-centred needs assessment of the educators and students in the Paramedic Program at Fanshawe College and the Advanced Care Paramedic Program at Justice Institute of British Columbia.  During this needs assessment, it was determined that students were looking for reference and support material that focused on the students’ and educators’ needs while being comprehensive, practical, and low-cost or free. It was ascertained that a profession-specific open textbook would meet these assessment results.


Learning Goals

The learning goals of the Paramedic Open Textbook include: (a) increasing student performance of defined objectives; (b) compiling a comprehensive, single source of relevant paramedic training information; (c) maintaining current and up-to-date peer-contributed information, and (d) including peer-reviewed and evidence-based information.


Intended Audience

The Paramedic Open Textbook is being developed as a project with Paramedic students at Fanshawe College and Advanced Care Paramedic students at Justice Institute of British Columbia (Students).  Upon completion, the intent is to provide a complete textbook, available to anyone, through Open Education and Creative Commons licenses.



A 2016 study by the Florida Virtual Campus identified that 66% of student respondents do not purchase textbooks due to cost, and 37.6% of student respondents completed a course without a textbook due to cost, earning a poor grade as a result.

The Open Education Group reviewed 13 published studies of 119, 720 students and found that 95% of these students had the same or better outcome utilizing open textbooks as those who utilized traditionally manufactured textbooks.

The majority of students from both groups would be classified by Prensky (2001) as Digital Natives, with the remainder considered Digital Immigrants.  As such, these students are generally comfortable with the digital medium.  Resources utilized by the Students include a significant number of mobile application-based materials.  The program maintains 1:1 iPad integration and a learning management system with full integration including video-based lessons, online quizzes, and digital exam marking.

Based on the above observations, it is maintained that the introduction of a digital Paramedic Open Textbook will enhance, rather than hinder, the Students’ education toolkit while maintaining or improving student performance in the defined objectives.



To aid in meeting the learning goals of a comprehensive, single source of relevant paramedic training information that is current and up-to-date, it was decided that a digital textbook would be created.  The prototype digital learning resource (DLR) was created using Apple iBook Author, which allows the textbook to be exported in a variety of compatible media types including ePub, PDF, and an interactive iBook.  The intent is for the final content to be available in several formats to help facilitate the open resource for the Students.


Assessment Plan

Assessment of the student and the DLR will take place independently throughout the Paramedic Open Textbook.  Students will be afforded the opportunity for self-paced evaluations in the form of Case Studies and interactive quizzes.  The DLR will be assessed for effectiveness through integrated Padlets and surveys, which will allow the Students and all readers to provide feedback on each chapter and to suggest edits for future editions.


Learning Theories & Instructional Design Principles

As an open education resource, the Paramedic Open Textbook will utilize Connectivism and Constructivist theories.   Students will create the content as part of assigned and graded coursework. This generated content will then be edited by educators and paramedics prior to being published as an Open Textbook.  Subsequently, the intent is for the material to evolve as an Open culture adopts and adapts this DLR.


Plan for Use

The Paramedic Open Textbook will be written for the new paramedic or paramedic student rather than the general public.  As such, there is some terminology that may be novel for a number of readers.  A glossary will be part of the final Open Textbook.  Photographs and graphics have been included to enhance the text and improve engagement with the content.  Some of these images may be graphic for sensitive constitutions.  All photographs used in the prototype DLR were taken during simulation, and none of the images displayed depicts real patients or injuries. The final Paramedic Open Textbook may utilize photographs of actual injuries.

The Students are creating the Paramedic Open Textbook content as course and program requirements in two consecutive courses at Fanshawe College and six courses at Justice Institute of British Columbia.  Students will be tasked to write select chapters in small groups during the first course and will then work with domain expert editors in the second course to refine the content.

Once the content is refined and edited, it will be integrated within the Paramedic Open Textbook.  The intent is to utilize established Open Education resources, for example, BCcampus and eCampusOntario for support and assistance during the creation and distribution of this Open Textbook.  All chapters will be edited by subject matter experts for accuracy, and the Open Textbook will be reviewed by faculty for quality assurance prior to being released.

Thank you for taking some time out of your day.  What are your thoughts on a Paramedic Open Textbook? What subjects or topics should be included?  What subjects or topics should not be included?  Please comment below.

Want to be involved as a contributor, subject matter editor, or reviewer?  Please email me through the contact page.

Enjoy the rest of your day!





3 thoughts on “Paramedic Open Textbook Project

  1. Hi Scott, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post and for leaving a reply. I have definitely considered and will be using PressBooks for the completed version of this textbook. It is a great book formatting software! The sample was created in iBooks for the interactive features, however, PressBooks is a better fit for an open textbook available across multiple platforms . . .


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