This past fiscal year was full of projects that cross a wide range of specialties, targeting teaching and learning for the B.C. post-secondary sector. We created programs to support mental health, working on topics like responding to and preventing sexual violence and suicide, as well as traditionally pedagogical topics, such as facilitating learning online and alternatives to the final exam. While the range was wide, the approach was consistent. Our intention was to actively include the voices of the people we were working with, as well as the ones who were the subject of our efforts. “Nothing about us without us” was something we learned during our work on the Indigenization guides, and it’s an approach we used across many projects, from student mental health to peer-support workers, as well as for — and with — faculty, staff, and students. We see the value and validity of using co-creation in our projects and look forward to building on this concept.
Talking About Mental Health
Mental health is something that’s been heavily on our minds throughout the pandemic, which led to the development of a new OER: Starting a Conversation about Mental Health: Foundational Training for Students. The guide is for use with post-secondary students and includes scenarios to offer suggestions on how to respond to students who are overwhelmed and feeling distressed. The scenarios are based on real-world situations to be relevant and engaging: scenario one looks at a student who’s struggling to balance studies with caring for their child, while scenario two is about a student who’s genderqueer and just gone through a bad breakup.
Co-creating OER: Students Supporting Students
The newly adapted mental health resource mentioned above was created with funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to equip post-secondary students with the resources and perspective they need to support their peers struggling with mental health concerns. While the resource will provide substantial value to students throughout the province, the learnings we took away from this will help us build better — and more inclusive — resources for the entire B.C. post-secondary sector.
Navigating Back to Campus with Resilience, Mindfulness, and Compassion
With the fall semester fast approaching, anxiety was at an all-time high about the return to campus for many in the B.C. post-secondary sector. Staff and faculty wanted to be able to support students with the return of face-to-face delivery. In a webinar titled Navigating Back to Campus with Resilience, Mindfulness, and Compassion, held on August 30, facilitator Dawn Schell used the analogy of being on an airplane when something goes wrong: you need to give yourself oxygen before you can take care of others around you.
The Power of Being Heard: Creating OER for Peer-Support Workers in B.C.
We completed a project to develop a full training curriculum for peer-support workers in B.C. To ensure we crafted effective resources, the materials were informed and evaluated by peer workers throughout the project to leverage their wisdom, knowledge, and lived and living experience to create unique training resources. This first-of-its-kind, provincially approved project focused on creating training tools for peer-support workers that amplify their lived expertise and allow them to continue to provide essential care throughout the provincial health care system.
Indigenization Guide: Pathways Toward Reconciliation
Over the past fiscal year, we have continued to develop and share the work we are doing in our Pulling Together series: hosting webinars and sharing excerpts from the various resources available in the professional learning series to create awareness about the value of these OER.
The Indigenous Student Experience
Last spring we were honoured to have four students share knowledge and stories about their experiences of being Indigenous while in a post-secondary institution. Our six-part Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors series, facilitated by Marlene Erickson and Jewell Gillies, provides an in-depth look at how organizations can find a holistic way for staff to serve Indigenous students. The recent panel gave us a firsthand look at what Indigenous students need and how, when put into tangible action, this guide can help us navigate these interactions.
Ditching the Final Exam
This year we looked at the student evaluation process, exploring alternative assessment opportunities used by faculty at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). We heard from Stefania Pizzirani, RoseAnne Timbrell, Michael Corman, Amea Wilbur, and Keziah Wallis, UFV educators who opted to forgo the final exam in favour of promoting student autonomy and helping their learners find ways to showcase their strengths.
“The pandemic forced instructors to look at assessments differently but with very little time to prepare. The sudden pivot from face-to-face instruction to online delivery required new ways of administering exams.”
Coordinator, Marketing and Communications at BCcampus
Taking FLO Up North: An Adoption Story
Recreation North, a community-focused recreation leadership training program, is structured to meet the challenges of varying levels of access to training, technology, and connectivity; to be inclusive of culture; and to respect different learning styles. Developed for and with the recreation and parks associations of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, BCcampus adapted the FLO Fundamentals for the North by including a stronger emphasis on inclusive facilitation and Indigenous perspectives.
FLO North launched in September 2021 with 10 participants. Due to various circumstances, only four learners were able to complete the course and earn a certificate. However, feedback during and after the course indicated our learners gained an appreciation of the ways in which cultural perspectives, literacy, and technology influence online learning as well as the need to respect the flow of life in the North, where professional, personal, and community life blend together.
Fostering Open Education in the North
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) received an open education sustainability grant in 2019 to fund professional development opportunities focused on learning about OER. This grant was used to provide a day-long workshop that introduced trades faculty to OER, provided incentives for adopting OER, and offered a professional development course for instructors on using OER.
While COVID-19 delayed some elements of the proposed grant activities by a semester, the staff at CMTN used the grant to foster and further develop open education understanding at the institution and continue to demonstrate innovation in this area. The open education conversation has started and continues to expand at CMTN.
Authentic and Alternative Assessments: A FLO MicroCourse Recap
Our FLO suite of MicroCourses designed to prepare educators for fall continued with July’s session, which addressed the timely topic of alternative and authentic assessments. This offering drew 65 participants, from institutions in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Michigan, and as far away as Tokyo (Japan) and Hyderabad (India)!
Much Ado About Rubrics
In September we held our inaugural FLO workshop about rubrics, a three-hour experiential session that focused on three areas:
- A facilitator-led primer on rubrics
- Creating a rubric during independent development time
- A peer review where participants gave and received feedback on rubrics
To help institutions implement an effective print-on-demand service to provide students and instructors with an option that is easy to locate and simple to use, we developed the BCcampus Open Education Print-on-Demand Guide. We created an article series to help campus bookstores, libraries, and resource centres learn how to implement open textbooks for their institution.
Open Homework Systems Project Grant Recipients
A few years ago we received funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to explore open source software alternatives to proprietary commercial publishers’ homework platforms. The purpose of the Open Homework Systems (OHS) project is to reduce the cost of post-secondary education for students by lowering the cost of access to homework systems.
In June we announced the recipients of the OHS grants for the development of STEM practice questions for open homework systems such as WebWorK and PrairieLearn. The grant recipients included:
- Elyse Yeager, associate professor of teaching, UBC Math
- Jessie Key, professor, Department of Chemistry, VIU
- Firas Moosvi, lecturer, UBC-Okanagan
- Jake Bobowski, associate professor of teaching, UBC-Okanagan
- Stefan Lukits, BCIT Math department, BCIT
Beyond Textbooks – The Open Online Courses Project
The B.C. Open Collection, formerly known as the BCcampus open online courses project, is a repository of complete courses for post-secondary institutions in B.C. The courses are openly licensed and fully equipped for teaching, learning, and assessment, including course materials, evaluation tools, modules, and other resources like case studies that you can adopt or adapt for your program.
This year we funded the development of open education courses to the following educators:
- Silvia Bartolic, MA, PhD, associate professor of Teaching, Sociology, UBC
- Katherine Carpenter, MBA, faculty, Entrepreneurial Leadership, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
- Steven Earle, PhD, Open Learning faculty member, Earth Science, TRU
- Dinesh Ramoo, PhD, sessional lecturer, Department of Psychology, College of New Caledonia
- Christine Miller, MEd, assistant teaching professor, TRU
- Meizhong Wang, MSc, Eng., Course: Intermediate Level Math (ABE)
- Jennifer Kirkey, MSc, instructor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Douglas College
Engineering Common Curriculum Project
To build on the learnings uncovered in a 2018 feasibility study into creating a common first-year curriculum, funded by the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT), we approached the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to receive approval and funding to continue the development of the content. The Ministry granted the request, and BCcampus was tasked with overseeing the project and the distribution of grants to institutions with significant work to migrate to the new curriculum. Additional funds were provided to include OER support for first-year engineering.
Eleven institutions in B.C. received funding to move to the first-year engineering curriculum, including:
- Capilano University
- Coast Mountain College
- College of New Caledonia
- College of the Rockies
- Langara College
- North Island College
- Northern Lights College
- Selkirk College
- Vancouver Community College
- Vancouver Island University
Giving Back with OpenETC
While enabling local educators to make informed decisions about the open-source resources at their fingertips, BCcampus agreed to a three-year commitment to support the community. “The OpenETC is very much aligned with what we do at BCcampus: they’re community-based, sector-wide, open, innovative in the tech and the model, and accessible to everyone,” shared Tracy Roberts, director of Learning + Teaching at BCcampus. “They’re building a solid community of contributors and collaborators, and we’d love to see it continue to thrive and grow, with everyone giving back to the collective to create a self-sustaining model.”
In fall 2021 the OpenETC won an Open Infrastructure Award from the Open Education Global team, a member-based, global non-profit that supports the development and use of open education around the world. In addition, the BCcampus Open Education Challenge won an award for open pedagogy, and it was hosted and made possible by OpenETC technology.
Another award-winning project that made use of the OpenETC infrastructure was 25 Years of EdTech, a serialized audio version of a book written by Martin Weller. The podcast was hosted and produced by Clint Lalonde, with a companion podcast, Between the Chapters, produced by Laura Pasquini.
“The OpenETC fills gaps in local provisions and resources, especially in rural colleges. It says something important about sector capacity and who can afford nice digital things and that shared models like this might be more affordable.”
deputy provost, Athabasca University
New Consumer Behaviour Textbook Demonstrates Why Care and Social Justice Matter in Marketing
As a leader in open education, instructor Andrea Niosi in the Faculty of Entrepreneurial Leadership at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) has been advocating for and developing open education for some time. New Consumer Behaviour Textbook Demonstrates Why Care and Social Justice Matter in Marketing, one of Andrea’s latest projects, is now published in the BCcampus Open Textbook Collection: Introduction to Consumer Behaviour. This new textbook fills an important gap in available OER for marketing and business programs in B.C. and beyond. With financial support from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and BCcampus, and as part of the zero-textbook cost initiative for business programs, Andrea authored an OER that takes a less conventional look at consumer behaviour and closely examines the relationship between marketing and culture.
FLO Tech Tool Tips
In September we launched a monthly tip to help educators facilitate learning online. The monthly tips covered topics such as:
- Crowdsourcing in the e-Classroom, hosted by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux, PhD, director of Continuing Studies at Capilano University
- The accessibility checker embedded in Microsoft Office, hosted by Terri Bateman, distributed learning facilitator at North Island College
- Echo360, presented by Gwen Hong-Nguyen, learning experience designer at the University of Victoria
- The Power of Padlet, from Valeria Cortes, associate faculty member at Royal Roads University
- Mentimeter, via Deb Nielsen, curriculum developer, College of New Caledonia
- Writing in the Margins with Hypothes.is, from Taruna Goel, instructor, University of Victoria