… [A] man cannot be educated unless he lives and works in a community which is culturally and socially vibrant. He needs his traditional way of life as a backdrop and as a basis upon which to grow. Combined with this is the need for other tools, such as Native languages and traditional institutions, which are essential for proper development and growth.
– Billy Diamond, “The Cree experience”
As we have seen, in the past the Government of Canada has unilaterally enacted laws and policies that have adversely affected Indigenous Peoples. This continues to happen. However, Indigenous Peoples have been pursuing recognition of their “rights and title” and self-government. Some have done this through treaties, the courts, and negotiations. Increasingly, Indigenous Peoples are taking back control over the decisions that affect them.
Although they have had serious consequences, the laws and policies stemming from the Indian Act did not succeed in destroying all Indigenous traditions. Indigenous Peoples have always fought against the Indian Act and for their rights.
Indigenous Peoples have continued to practice their culture underground and have found new ways to avoid persecution. They organized against residential schools and won court victories and an official apology from the Government of Canada.
Indigenous Peoples have continued to raise their children to be proud of their cultures and identities and to resist assimilation in their everyday lives.
Idle No More
A well-known recent response to colonization was the Idle No More movement. The movement began in November 2012 when four Saskatchewan women, Jessica Gordon (Cree), Sylvia McAdam (Cree), Nina Wilson (Nakota/Plains Cree), and Sheelah McLean (Canadian) responded to the government’s omnibus Bill C-45, which challenged First Nations sovereignty and weakened environmental protections throughout Canada. Using Facebook and Twitter, #IdleNoMore was created to promote a series of “teach-ins” on the impacts of Bill C-45.
The Idle No More movement inspired more than 100 protests, flash mobs, and round dances in shopping malls and in the streets. Support for Idle No More spread outside of Canada, with solidarity protests in the U.S., Sweden, U.K., Germany, New Zealand, and Egypt.
Indigenous rights, title, self-determination, and government
Indigenous rights are collective rights that flow from the fact that Indigenous Peoples continuously occupied the land that is now called Canada. They are inherent rights, which Indigenous peoples have practised and enjoyed since before settler contact. In Canadian law, Indigenous title and rights are different from the rights of non-Indigenous Canadian citizens. Indigenous title and rights do not come from the Canadian government, although they are recognized by it. They are rights that come from Indigenous Peoples’ relationships with their territories and land, even before Canada became a country, and from Indigenous social, political, economic, and legal systems that have been in place for a long time.
Aboriginal title is the inherent right of Indigenous Peoples to their lands and waters. It is recognized by common law. This inherent right comes from the long history Indigenous Peoples have had with the land. Inherent means nobody can take the right away.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples includes the right to self-determination. The Assembly of First Nations describes self-determination as a Nation’s right to choose its own government and decide on its own economic, social, and cultural development. Today, Indigenous Peoples are exercising their Indigenous rights and title for self-determination and benefiting from the wealth and resources of this land that is now called Canada.
Self-government means First Nations can take control of and responsibility for decisions affecting them. Self-government can take many forms. It can include making laws and deciding how to spend money or raise money through taxation, deliver programs, and build economic opportunities. First Nations governed themselves for thousands of years before the arrival of settlers. Their governments were organized to meet their economic, social, and geographic conditions and needs, and were shaped by their cultures and beliefs. First Nations governments were weakened by policies that imposed settler laws and forms of government. Under the Indian Act, the Canadian government created Indian Bands and Councils to administer and provide services to their memberships and made aspects of traditional Indigenous government illegal. First Nations are in the process of nation-rebuilding and asserting self-government.
Workshops and events can increase awareness and support for open education and open educational resources (OER) within your institution. Faculty and staff gain valuable skills and approaches for developing open resources. At institutions in British Columbia, like Douglas College, BCIT, and UBC, open working groups have developed and delivered a range of events from showcases to open courses to skills-based workshops. In the following section, we will look at some of the approaches taken to these workshops and events and what has been most successful.
Questions to Consider
What events does your institution or organization already have that support open?
Are there institutes or pre-existing programs where there is an opportunity to host an OER or open workshop or event?
What are aspects of open that you can use to showcase open practices at your institution? Are there people in open education whose work you can share?
Open education workshops
One approach to both supporting and raising awareness for open education is to host workshops focused on some of the knowledge and skills required to adopt, adapt, and create open resources, and implement open pedagogy and open practices. These workshops can focus on licensing, tool use, finding and using OER, or developing OER using an open resource creation tool such as Pressbooks. By focusing on tangible skills, these workshops can offer a valuable entry point for people just getting started in open and fill skill gaps for those more familiar with open practices. These workshops can also create opportunities to collaborate between different units such as the library, teaching and learning centres, and faculty centres. You can find information about developing and running many of these workshops online. In the following section, we have listed some common skills-based workshops and included where you can find open resources to run them with.
Finding, using, and remixing OER resources
One approach to engaging instructors, staff, faculty, and students around open education and OER is to run a workshop focusing on finding, using, and remixing OER. This type of workshop is useful for people starting to consider adopting OER because it provides participants with an answer to a common challenge in education: how to find resources to use in their presentations and courses. See In Practice: Find, Use, and Remix OER for Your Courses in this chapter for a description of a workshop like this.
Pressbooks is an open-source software that enables book creators to design and produce an open textbook or resource for the web and export it into multiple file formats like PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and various editable formats. BCcampus hosts its own instance of Pressbooks and all faculty, instructors, and staff working for post-secondary institutions in B.C. can use this service by registering for an account. Workshops about Pressbooks are a way to help provide faculty with a key tool in OER creation. Pressbooks workshops can focus on creating an actual resource, reusing a book published in Pressbook, or the process of adapting a textbook. BCcampus has a number of openly licensed resources that you can use and adapt when offering these workshops:
There are lots of other examples of types of workshops that you can run for instructors, faculty, and staff, including
How to create open resources,
Intro to Creative Commons licensing,
Intro to open pedagogy,
How to develop ancillary resources,
Workshops highlighting open tools such as blogs and wikis, and
Workshops about how to use the LMS to create and share OER.
Inspire your workshop participants by showing examples of what high-quality OER looks like:
Showcase open textbooks. Find great exemplars from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection, a curated collection of open textbooks, many of which have been reviewed and vetted by educators across Canada.
Showcase open course materials. Share resources from the Open Course Library’scollection of course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts.
Showcase opendata. Showcase data from the UBC Open Data Collection, a repository with a collection of Canadian geospatial datasets.
In addition to running workshops on skills and approaches required for open practice, another approach is to engage faculty, staff, and students to complete an open course, either together or individually. Consider sponsoring participants to complete these programs as a cohort and organize brown-bag lunches and meetups to share their learning and experiences.
Examples of open online courses
Creative Commons Certificate
Creative Commons offers a Creative Commons Certificate program, which is “an in-depth course about CC licenses, open practices and the ethos of the Commons. The course is composed of readings, quizzes, discussions and practical exercises to develop learners’ open skills.” You can organize a cohort of faculty to take this program together, complete the train-the-trainer program to offer it within your institution, or incorporate the program within your own offerings.
Open for Learning Challenges (UBC)
The Open for Learning Challenges website includes “challenges” that can be completed by instructors, staff, and students independently or can be used to create interactive activities as part of a workshop. The challenge bank structure is based on the architecture developed by Alan Levine for DS106 and Agora, and it includes challenges about open resources, open teaching, open profiles, and open advocacy.
Sprints are probably most associated with software design but are becoming increasingly used as a strategy or approach for developing OER. The sprint approach can be used in a variety of contexts where a group of people (often cross-disciplinary) come together to focus on a specific project. In post-secondary education, sprints are emerging as a way to accomplish a shared goal while working across disciplines and on a short timeline. Hackathons can follow a similar process but often have a competitive element. In open education, sprints can be used as a way to quickly develop open textbooks (e.g., this Geography open textbook sprint) and ancillary resources (e.g., a sprint to develop a psychology test bank).
The sprint methodology includes the following features:
Short timelines and achievable goals,
Time-boxed working sessions (usually two to three days but can vary according to context and needs),
A defined outcome (i.e., textbook, resource),
A planning session to develop the sprint process,
Multiple perspectives and skill sets,
Identified/agreed roles for participants, and
Collaborative rather than competitive development processes.
Sharing and showcasing open education projects is a successful approach used by open working groups and institutions. A number of open working groups host events to share and celebrate open education within their institutions.
Provincial and national events
One strategy used when developing events is to host local events as part of provincial and national events and/or support faculty to attend these events.
Open Access Week
Open Access Week is organized annually by SPARC in late October. It is a global event that brings together the academic and research community to share and learn about approaches to and benefits of open access. Each year, the BCOEL has organized events as part of Open Access Week. Past events have focused on scholarly publishing and tension in open scholarship.
Open Textbook Summit is a conference hosted every two years in Vancouver, B.C. in April/May that brings together people working in open. This event is for new and experienced OER advocates as it offers the opportunity to learn and share effective practices in awareness building, implementation, collaboration, strategy, and research in open education.
In Practice: Find, Use, and Remix OER for Your Courses
A great starting place for these workshops is finding and using Creative Commons licensed resources within the classroom. For many instructors, this is an open practice that they are already engaged or interested in. This can be done through locally lead workshops. At the University of British Columbia (UBC), the open working group leads these workshops a couple of times a year in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and the UBC Library. The workshops are developed and led by academic staff, instructors, and librarians to provide a balance of different perspectives and share expertise in different areas. Below is a sample description of these workshops.
Finding, Using, and Remixing Open Resources For Your Courses – Sample workshop description
As you prepare for your courses, chances are you may want to incorporate educational resources such as images, videos, or quiz questions from different sources into your own materials. There are millions of openly licensed resources—from full courses and textbooks to tests banks and images—that are available for others to freely use. These resources can be modified and adapted to be more useful for your own teaching or learning context. Additionally, these open education resources support the greater worldwide education community by sharing teaching work which may not be as visible as other academic engagement activities.
Are you interested in learning how to find, use, and remix open educational resources? Would you like to learn more about how to share resources back to the education community? This session is intended to address common questions concerning openly licensed materials for teaching and learning. Some of these questions include:
What is meant by Creative Commons?
How do you find and evaluate open resources?
What are the key considerations in reusing, reproducing, or modifying these materials?
With the proliferation of open education resources on the web, the practice of finding, evaluating, using, and remixing videos, simulations, test banks, presentations, and other materials is a skill that can help support instructors and students in their teaching and learning. This session will focus on the pragmatic elements of reuse and the basics of working with open education resources. Participants are invited to bring their questions, problems and favourite resources.
Figure 3 long description: A Sprint Process.
Step 1: Plan. The sprint team determines the goals of the sprint, the sprint team, the logistics, and the venue.
Step 2: Prepare. The team explores the sprint content, process, technology, and collections open resources.
Step 3: Set up. The team sets up the venue and creates necessary style guides and templates.
Step 4: Deliver. The sprint facilitator leads the intensive sprint, emphasizing intensive content creation and collaboration.
Step 5: Debrief. The sprint team captures resources created and plans for the publication process.
Beyond printing: A practical approach to PoD services that logs open education on campus and improves student accessibility
By Lauri Aesoph, Manager, Open Education
Most open textbooks are available online or in other digital formats. However, there are times when a student or instructor needs or wants a printed version. There are times when screen-only reading creates a barrier, and the printed page is the window to learning.
The newly expanded and completed BCcampus Open Education Print-on-Demand Guide provides an overview for post-secondary institutions interested in offering on-demand and pre-order printing services for open textbooks. Print on demand (PoD) is a service or process by which individual copies of a textbook or other OER can be printed upon request.
While the newly updated Print-on-Demand Guide can be used as an instruction manual for setting up a print-on-demand service, its emphasis on broad institutional participation during evaluation also makes it a tool for taking inventory of open educational activity and interest on campus.
This guide, laid out in four parts, begins by describing the history behind print on demand and explaining why open textbooks are ideal print candidates for instructors interested in customizable classrooms. It describes how open textbook permissions allow copies to be made and legalizes their sale. NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licences are also covered.
The second section contains situations in which the printing of open textbooks is warranted, such as personal preference, limited computer and internet availability, learning needs, literacy, and accessibility. The third part looks at the benefits of an on-campus print-on-demand service, and the fourth includes suggestions, considerations, and templates that can be used to set up this service.
Chapter content in the Print-on-Demand Guide incorporates research, real-life examples, input from B.C. post-secondary representatives who answered a print-on-demand survey designed for this guide, and quotes from bookstores, printshops, and libraries across the province.
Identify existing institutional and organizational support
Teaching and learning centres and libraries often have the knowledge and capacity to support aspects of open educational practices (OEP) and open educational resource (OER) development. For example, the libraries at institutions such as SFU, KPU, and UBC support faculty adopting, adapting, and creating OER. However, open education is an emerging discipline and adequate support for open education is sometimes lacking. This lack of support can mean that faculty take on open projects off the sides of their desks, increasing workload and stress and increasing the potential for redlining:
For if the movement relies on voluntary academic labour or severely under-compensated academic labour to create, peer-review, and contextualize OER, we are in effect perpetrating an implicit form of redlining, one that reserves the capacity to create or adapt OER for those who already enjoy positions of privilege, such as the tenured or those who do not need the income.
Working groups can play a role in mitigating the issue of voluntary academic labour by supporting faculty by helping them identify available institutional or organizational support.
Questions to Consider
What institutional resources are available to faculty, staff, and students?
What resources from outside of the institution can be leveraged?
Which units within your institution have the expertise to support faculty in the design and development of OER?
Which units within your institution can support open pedagogy and OEP?
What platforms or tools are available to create OER or support open practices? Examples, of this might include Pressbooks for textbook publishing or Media Wiki for open teaching.
Which units or individuals are available to provide training and support for open tools?
Support faculty who use OER or OEP in their courses
In addition to helping faculty identify existing supports, open working groups have developed processes and services for faculty who use OER and OEP. Open working groups can also provide support for projects focused on creating or adapting OER. In B.C., this support ranges from distributing grant funds and managing these projects, to working directly with faculty members to develop and adapt OER, to providing technical support and consultation for faculty developing these projects.
Supporting the Creation of OERAt the University of Brtish Columbia (UBC), members of the open working group have provided individual consultations for faculty using open approaches to teaching. At Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), the open working group, in collaboration with the library, has developed OPuS, KPU’s Open Publishing Suite, which includes support for creating, adopting, and adapting OER with Pressbooks.
Offer open development grants for faculty
A number of open working groups are involved in the administration and support of open development grants. These grant funds are offered by the institution, awarded by the committee based on established criteria, and provided to the faculty member for the development of an OER or open course. These criteria may be based on what subjects are in need of OER or by some other criteria deemed important by your group. Examples of these grant programs can be found at KPU, BCIT, and TRU.
Offer open incentive grants for faculty
For an alternative approach to development grants, Douglas College encourages individuals or teams to apply for incentive grants towards a professional development activity of their choosing to assist in the implementation of OER in courses. The purpose of the incentive is to encourage faculty to explore and implement ways to reduce the cost of education to students while maximizing access to and use of textbooks and other learning resources by all students.
Martin Weller, “Different Aspects of the Emerging OER Discipline,” Revista Educacao e Cultura Contemporanea 13, no.31 (2016). ↵
Although the situation is improving, far too many Canadians do not know the histories, cultures, or current issues facing Indigenous Peoples. There are many reasons for this:
Years of government policies have worked to assimilate Indigenous Peoples into mainstream Canadian society.
Reserves have isolated First Nations people from Canadian society.
Very little is taught about the true history of Canada and Indigenous Peoples.
Film, television, and media often perpetuate Indigenous stereotypes.
In order to ensure that there is understanding, respect, and appreciation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, both need to meet, work together, and learn about each other. Otherwise, non-Indigenous people may learn about Indigenous Peoples only from the news and other sources. Usually what people know, or think they know, comes from the images and characters they see or read about in movies, TV shows, magazines, books, and news reports.
Stereotypes do great harm. Whether you are Indigenous or non-Indigenous, you will often hear negative stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples, but you might not always have enough information to see past the stereotypes and see past the racism to find the truth.
The Canadian school system has contributed to these stereotypes, as very little is taught about Indigenous Peoples and their real history. This is changing. For example, the Province of British Columbia has mandated the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and history across the K–12 curriculum.
Indigenous stories and histories in the mainstream media have normally been told from a non-Indigenous point of view. This can lead to misunderstandings that can harm the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
The Hollywood film industry has made millions from telling stories about “cowboys and Indians.” In TV shows and movies, Indigenous characters are often played by non-Indigenous people and the representations of Indigenous Peoples are rarely accurate. Instead, filmmakers use stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples.
Negative stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples are still widespread in sports, though there is a growing movement to replace team names and mascots that perpetuate the stereotypes.
Overcoming the stereotypes
Indigenous people work in the media – in newspapers, radio, book publishing, film, web journalism, and television. The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) is a cable television network in Canada that produces and broadcasts programs by and for Indigenous Peoples. These films and TV shows can help break down some of the negative stereotypes.
For non-Indigenous Canadians, the visible and positive presence of Indigenous Peoples in the media is a real alternative to stereotypes. Real people, places, and cultures are much more complex than stereotypes.
Getting to know Indigenous Peoples and learning about their real history and contemporary reality will help to break down negative stereotypes and can heal some of the damage. Many people are now working to ensure that future generations of children in Canada will receive more complete and accurate views of Indigenous Peoples and a more truthful account of Canadian history in their education.
The term microaggressions is sometimes used to describe the insults, dismissals, or casual degradations a dominant culture inflicts on a marginalized group of people. Often they are a form of unintended discrimination, but one that has the same effect as willful discrimination. Usually perpetrators intend no offence and are unaware they are causing harm. Generally, they are well-meaning and consider themselves to be unprejudiced.
Many Indigenous people experience microaggressions on a regular basis. They are often statements that:
repeat or affirm stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples or subtly demean them
position the dominant non-Indigenous culture as normal and the Indigenous culture as abnormal
express disapproval of or discomfort with Indigenous Peoples
assume all Indigenous Peoples are the same
minimize the existence of discrimination against Indigenous Peoples
deny the perpetrator’s own bias toward Indigenous Peoples
minimize real conflict between the Indigenous Peoples and the dominant non-Indigenous culture
People who experience microaggressions may feel anger, frustration, or exhaustion from feeling that they must “represent” their group or suppress their own cultural expression and beliefs.
Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of culturally significant items by someone from another culture. During this process the original meaning is usually lost or distorted.
Pop culture has a history of using Indigenous symbols to sell fashion. Traditional Indigenous clothing with deep spiritual significance is marketed as “cute,” “sexy,” or “cool.”
Cultural appropriation is offensive when someone from a dominant culture exploits the cultural and intellectual property of a marginalized group of people, and even more so when the dominant culture has outlawed many of the cultural items that are now being marketed.
The main purpose of the open working group is to introduce, establish, and provide support for open education at your institution. There are many different ways to accomplish this. Depending on the goals of the open working group, the group may focus on the development or informing of institutional policy related to open education. For other open working groups, there can be more of a grassroots focus in supporting individual instructors finding, adapting, and reusing open educational resources (OER) and teaching in the open. Open working groups often work simultaneously on both of these goals. In this section, we will share some approaches and tools for both of these approaches.
Start big! Consider open policies at the institutional level
When thinking about implementing open policies on an institutional level, there are a few questions you need to consider. Who can advocate for this? Whose support will you need? Who can help develop this?
Open working groups can have a significant impact on policy-level decisions. This can range from informing and advocating for policy changes on open to developing open policies for an institution. According to the OER Policy Development Tool, the broad steps in developing an institutional policy include seven components.
OER Policy Development Tool
The OER Policy Development Tool can guide you in developing each of these components. You can use the tool to develop policy or inform policy developed by other administrative, faculty, or student units.
OER purpose statement. The college or university community needs to know why OER is important and how it aligns with the college or university vision and mission. An OER policy begins with a clearly stated and shared purpose.
OER policy statement. An OER policy stipulates compliance with local, national, and international laws, regulations, and standards. To improve the chances of a successful college or university OER program initiative, it is essential that teaching faculty especially be engaged in writing the policy, beginning with the purpose.
Licensing OER. Requirements for works created during the course of employment, including how they may be shared and used by others, needs to be clearly understood. Typically this is addressed in a college or university intellectual property (IP) and copyright policy. OER may be addressed in an existing IP policy or addressed separately in an OER policy. In either case, the use and creation of OER does not supplant an institution’s IP policy; it supplements the IP policy. We recommend, as a best practice, setting the default the most open and least restrictive Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) whenever possible.
OER procedures and responsibilities. An OER policy makes clear who is responsible for what in developing and sustaining OER programs, including, for example, instructional aspects, training and professional development, student and cross-functional support, and leadership and governance.
OER training and professional development. Training for faculty and staff is essential to introducing and sustaining an OER program. OER basics include such topics as locating OER; understanding intellectual property, copyright, and open licenses; adopting and adapting OER; and creating and sharing OER. Engaging with colleagues in the open community provides faculty and staff professional development opportunities, venues to exchange ideas and deepen their understanding and commitment to OER, and opportunities to build new networks.
OER technical format. The technical format of OER creation and usage is an important consideration for OER policy. The OER created and/or used by faculty or staff should be in a technical format that allows for the greatest flexibility for retaining, reusing, revising, remixing, or redistributing content.
OER quality assurance. The quality of the OER chosen by faculty as subject-matter experts to use in the courses and programs they teach needs to be of equal or greater quality than commercially distributed publisher content.
The focus of the OER Policy Development Tool is on OER; depending on the goals of the group, you may want to broaden your focus to consider including open education, open access, and open science in your policy development. In tandem with considering open policies at your institution, you may also want to consider opening up your own practices.
Questions to Consider
What are the current policies at your institution that support and inform OER and open pedagogy?
What role does the open working group currently have in informing and developing OER policies?
Start small! Open your own practices
Be open and inclusive. Add value. Make visible what you are using from the commons, what you are adding, and what you are monetizing. Maximize abundance. Give attribution. Express gratitude. Develop trust; don’t exploit. Build relationship and community.
~Stacey and Hinclife Pearson (2017)
One approach a number of open working groups have used as a way to raise interest in open practices is to focus on opening up their own practices and resources. By opening up your own resources and practices, it can model the value of open practices, and it can also be used as a way to start a conversation about open practices. It is also a way to connect with other open working groups and enable people to build on and improve these resources. This process does not need to only involve licensing but also developing resources that are findable and accessible. Here are examples of things that you can open up:
Slides and lesson plans from professional development programs
Toolkits and documentation supporting open
Videos that showcase open at your institution
Meeting agendas, minutes, and terms of reference
This approach can start with the products and processes from the open working group and can be extended to the areas that you work in. What would it mean for a teaching and learning centre to openly license its resources?
In Practice: The UBC Open Working Group
The University of British Columbia (UBC) open working group began at the outset making all of its resources and processes open. This was an intentional decision, with the goal of making the resources and processes visible in order to disseminate them more effectively and to promote and support open through “walking the walk” with open practices. This approach has helped the development of the group and has served as a professional development opportunity for members of the group who needed to learn about open licensing, open sharing, and how to develop usable resources from the outside. The open pack has decided to share all elements of their practice, including presentations, meeting notes, agendas, memberships lists, work plans, and shared resources. To effectively do this in the open, they have developed an Open UBC Working Group portal where they share and/or link to products and processes created and used by the group.
What roles at an institution have a role in open? There are many! By expanding your open working group membership in different areas, you can bring new perspectives into the discussion around open education and create and sustain new partnerships.
Do you have membership in your group to get the best uptake for open at your institution? Who should you partner or collaborate with to increase support for and interest in open? Keep the conversations going by identifying and raising open as part of institutional/departmental conversations (e.g., new technology assessments, copyright strategies, teaching and learning support).
Faculties. Depending on the size of your institution, different faculties or faculty units may be key drivers and supporters of open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP). This also can open up questions of what does open education look like and how is it used in different disciplinary contexts. The use of OER is approached very differently in different faculties.
Student unions or groups. Advocate for and develop awareness among students, and support students in their own advocacy efforts. You can assist students in applying for OER grants, work with students around #textbookbroke campaigns, support students in conducting environmental scans, and more.
Library. As described in more detail below, the library is typically a key stakeholder in advocating for and supporting open.
Teaching and learning centres. Determine how a teaching and learning centre already engages with OER. Connect OEP with OER and open education in general.
Administration. Share and connect with these groups about how OER adoption relates to student retention and cost savings. The college or university administration can be a key partner in advocating for and supporting open. In institutions such as UBC and KPU, the administrations have made significant commitments to OER and OEP in a number of ways, including adding goals and visions around OER within their strategic plans.
Accessibility office. One goal of open education programs and movements is to make education more accessible. Partnering with your institution’s accessibility office can help ensure that the resources that you create and share are accessible to each and every student. The BCcampus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit provides resources to make truly accessible OER.
Questions to Consider
Reflect on the different roles at your institution:
Who is already engaged in an aspect of open practice?
What people and roles at your institution should be included in your open working group?
Partnering with your library
Your library is an excellent resource for open-related activities. Reach out to your librarians to learn how they can partner with your open working group. There is a B.C. Open Education Librarians group that is also actively engaged in open activities. The library may be able to offer the following support for open:
Assist faculty in finding OER by
consulting with faculty,
creating guides to find OER repositories and resources (e.g., library guides), and
Regardless of where your open working group may fall on the spectrum of formal to informal, there are certain things to consider doing and places you can look for support.
Keep a record
Kick off your committee by establishing a shared digital place where agendas, minutes, best practices, and other documents can reside. Avoid documents becoming orphaned in individual emails.
Inventory the different ways to communicate with your community at your institution and establish when, how, and what you will communicate out from your group. One approach that has been taken by a number of open working groups is to consider an open way to document and keep a record. At the University of British Columbia, the UBC Wiki (MediaWiki) is used for sharing all agendas, activities, and members in the open. You may want to look at the Open Ed Tech Collaborative apps available via Sandstorm for collaborative editing tools that will allow you to share and edit documents.
Find administrative support
Booking meetings, finding rooms, sending out agendas, and other administrative tasks can make or break a group’s functionality if not done. Is there a dean or administrator on your committee that is able to offer administrative support? Who is writing announcements? Where are you sending them? Who has booked the room, ordered the coffee?
Set up communication and marketing
It never hurts to look good! Are there channels at your institution that will offer you marketing and promotional advice? Are there logos and creative designs already available in the open marketplace that can help you with banners and graphics? Are there institutions that can share open marketing ideas?
Depending on the composition and background of your open working group members, different professional development opportunities will be useful for sustaining the group. Think about training on the different technologies offered to sustain open at your institution. Look at conferences related to open subjects, such as the Open Textbook Summit. Other professional developmentopportunities may include inter-institutional events, development sprints, and workshops (such as on copyright, Creative Commons licences, and open pedagogy).
A key approach to driving adoptions of open educational resources (OER) is to find ways of providing funding to instructors adopting or adapting open textbooks or resources. An open working group may want to look at distributing internal grants to support instructors in the development of open resources. In addition, the open working group may want to take an inventory of grants available from external organizations, such as BCcampus, Creative Commons, or the Mozilla Foundation. You can also find ways of combining these sources; for example, you can match organizational funds with institutional grants.
In the very early days of OER, a handful of foundations such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation led the way in funding OER projects across the globe. Today, funding for OER remains limited, although more diversified. Individuals and colleges may explore a range of sources to support their OER work, including those listed below:
Provincial funds. Check out, for example, call for proposals to develop or adapt OER that are periodically posted on the BCcampus website.
Some institutions may have already launched an OER-grants program. If this is the case, the open working group may wish to reach out to the grant-program administrators to coordinate messaging and open education-related programming when possible.
If your institution does not have any OER-dedicated grants, you should see if there are existing grants and funds that could be applied to OER work:
Ask your institution about existing research grants and whether the development of OER may be funded as part of those research grants.
Check with your institution to see if funds, refreshments, or time off are offered for OER projects and events, such as sprints to create new OER.
Develop an institutional grant program
If there are no existing grants that can be applied to the creation or adaptation of open resources, you may wish to lead the development of institutional grants program for OER.
In Practice: Working Groups Supporting Open Education Grants
Including open in existing innovation grants at UBC
The University of British Columbia (UBC) has a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) that was created in 1991 to enrich student learning by supporting innovative and effective educational enhancements. Starting in the 2017/2018 cycle, a priority focus on the development or integration of OER was added to the TLEF criteria for new proposals. Furthermore, eligibility requirements were also added that specifically state that funded projects are encouraged to openly license their developed materials under an appropriate Creative Commons licence to allow for broad sharing within and beyond UBC.
Applying for and supporting external grants at JIBC
At the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), staff and faculty are encouraged to apply for external grants for funding for OER, where applicable. JIBC has received a number of grants/funding for OER, including the 2017 Zed Cred grant from BCcampus. The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI) offers guidance and support for staff and faculty submitting OER-grant applications and may also offer funding for OER creation or adaptation projects. The CTLI is particularly interested in funding and having students get involved in OER projects.
Setting up internal OER faculty grants at TRU
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) offers yearly Strategic Investments Fund (SIF) grants for special projects. After the TRU Student Union’s (TRUSU) 2016 Open Textbook campaign to push for support for faculty to create OER, a small, informal group put together a joint proposal to create faculty grants. Members from TRUSU, the Faculty of Arts, the Library, Open Learning, and the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning partnered to fund up to eight faculty grants of $5000 each (based on SFU’s similar program) and were successful in their request.
SFU OER grants
Since 2016, the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Open Educational Resources Grantsprogram has provided funding and in-kind support to over fifteen projects that have saved students significant money on textbook costs and supported innovative teaching practices. This program has been jointly administered and supported by the Library and Teaching & Learning Centre (TLC). The new SFU OER working group plans to coordinate with the already established grants program to raise awareness about funding opportunities available to instructors via this program and to organize events highlighting and celebrating achievements of SFU OER grant recipients
BCcampus has been tasked to improve the searchability of open textbooks on the BCcampus website. This work is part of the open education funding announced by Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, in April 2019. The development team has gone one step further and reframed the mission to look at reducing many barriers that stand in the way of matching an instructor with the right open textbook for their course where one exists. Whereas the project was initially scoped to fix issues related to the search box and the subsequent results page, the project team saw other equally important opportunities to improve the ability to find relevant textbooks in the collection before (and after) users even type anything into the search box. That is, finding textbooks is more than just searching for them: it’s also about how users hear about the book and have the knowledge or tools to find one that is suitable. That is, finding textbooks, is more than just searching for them. It’s about how users hear about the book and have the knowledge or tools to find one that is suitable.
What has been done already?
What are the barriers? Predating the start of this project, research (see ‘research used’ at the end) has strongly suggested that the main barriers to adopting open textbooks are low discoverability of textbooks and low understanding of the licensing.
Interviews conducted with users — including instructors, teaching support staff, librarians, bookstore staff, and students — support previous research findings. Furthermore, hearing their stories provided further insight as to why these barriers exist and in what context they are experiencing these challenges.
Observations of people using the website and interpreting the language give us insights as to how we can reduce or remove some of the barriers. For example, in an interview, a user may say that the book they wanted didn’t exist (so we would cite the issue as material availability), but in an observation, we might find that the search feature doesn’t function well enough to surface the book that is in the collection (making the issue more related to search relevancy or sort/filter functions). A combination of research, interviews, and observation are being used to create a well-rounded picture of how we can improve the experience.
The main opportunities for improvement so far revolve around improving the search function to surface more relevant results, improving the language so it reflects what users expect to see (e.g., the term “ancillary resources” is often not recognized by new users), and reducing the effort required to judge a book for quality and relevancy.
What is being worked on
Gathering more information: We’re interviewing and observing
instructors, students, and support staff to find out what other issues haven’t
We have a thorough list
of ways to improve the experience so far. Which high-value improvements can we
deliver the quickest?
We think we’ve come up with some
bright ideas. Before we deploy them to the site, we’ll test with our users to
make sure they work as expected.
Nothing is magic. Some of the
critical changes to the way searching will work will require a shift in the
technological back end. Our development team is hearing user requirements to
decide what the best setup is
The development team is on the
lookout for technology that will support our ideas in innovative ways.
How can you help?
We need instructors, students, and support
staff to help us test our ideas and tell us about their experiences choosing
textbooks (both open and traditionally published books, good and bad
If you or someone you know might be
willing to spend an hour helping, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let Selina know you are keen to
help (there’s a free coffee in it for you!).
Hendricks, C., Reinsberg, S.A., Rieger, G.W. (2017). The adoption of an open textbook in a large physics course: An analysis of cost, outcomes, use and perceptions. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(4). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i4.3006
Jhangiani, R. S., & Jhangiani, S. (2017). Investigating the perceptions, use, and impact of open textbooks: A survey of post-secondary students in British Columbia. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(4). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i4.3012
Jhangiani, R. S., Dastur, F. N., LeGrand, R., & Penner, K. (2018). As good or better than commercial textbooks: Students’ perceptions and outcomes from using open digital and open print textbooks. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2018.1.5
Thompson Rivers University campuses are on the traditional lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops campus) and the T’exelc (Williams Lake campus) within Secwépemc’ulucw, the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc people. Our region also extends into the territories of the Stat’imc, Nlaka’pamux, Nuxalk, Tsilhqot’in, Dakelh and Métis peoples.