Building on the success of previous years’ research and analysis, this past fiscal year has been one of action – we have initiated or developed a substantial number of projects and programs, hosted many events and were active participants in others.
To better serve the institutions throughout the province, we’ve introduced a pair of regional representatives. Carolee Clyne is working with institutions in northern B.C., and Ross McKerlich will be available for those in the interior. The pair will be working with faculty, students, and staff to promote, support, and advocate for the use of open educational resources and open educational practices.
Investing in Open
To continue to advance open and affordable education, providing flexible and affordable access to post-secondary learning resources in B.C., we created a call for proposals to allow colleges, institutes, and universities to take the next step towards campus-based open education sustainability. With financial support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the grant recipients will:
- Support the development of engaging, interactive open educational resources that replace or supplement commercial resources used by an institution’s faculty
- Encourage faculty to incorporate open educational practices in their teaching
- Consider how OEP and OER might fit within an institution’s overall strategy on teaching, learning, and scholarship, and what steps can be taken to begin or continue this process
Diversity Equity and Inclusion
Last fall, we shared a request for proposals to research approaches designed to remove barriers to online learning through a teaching and learning lens. Funded through a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, our goal was to develop a thought-leadership resource that identifies evidence-based strategies for designing and delivering professional development and open educational resources for online educators to improve learning conditions for a diverse spectrum of students.
The research grants had four objectives:
- A review of existing literature and other relevant information on diversity, inclusion, and equity in an online environment
- A high-level scan of practices in B.C. post-secondary institutions
- A strategic report incorporating evidence-based best practices on how to address barriers to online learning for marginalized students in B.C.
- The scope is limited to digital literacy, quality of resources and instruction, and pedagogy; it does not include access to technology and/or the internet
We were willing to accept proposals with budgets up to $40,000, including all costs associated with research, writing, and editing of the final product. The research grants were awarded to Able Research, composed of Andrea Sator and Heather Williams for their work on Identifying Evidence-Based Strategies Used in Teaching and Learning, and to Dr. Paula Hayden at the College of New Caledonia for her work focused on removing barriers to online learning through a lens of teaching and learning.
Educational Electronic Health Record System
The Educational Electronic Health Record System (EdEHR) project developed open-source software for training students to use electronic health record systems in professional health care environments. In 2020, BCcampus funded in-classroom pilots of the EdEHR at B.C. post-secondary institutions. Beyond evaluating the value of the software as a learning and teaching tool, pilots inform and assess sustainability models for the system’s ongoing use in post-secondary institutions. The EdEHR has been a successful BCcampus software incubation project: The engaged project steering committee continues to guide and fund product development after the project’s completion.
“Providing students with an accurate and effective sandbox gives them exposure to the technology before they go into the real world, and this is a vitally important project for today’s healthcare practices.”
Lecturer, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia
“The Early Years Professional Development web portal is a fantastic place to visit because it helps me plan ahead a year at a time to see what training is available in my community.”
Director of Programs, Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre
Early Childhood Education Standards of Practice and Occupational Competencies
Supporting the government of B.C.’s Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, we have been working with local professionals to guide early childhood educators through the development of the ECE Provincial Standards of Practice, a competency framework, and a program guide.
Early Years Professional Development
Early Years Professional Development (EYPD) was a three-year project to create and pilot a website for workers in the “Early Years” (children aged six years and younger) sector. The site helps members find professional development activities and resources and track their learning. The project’s final report outlines recommendations to inform future research and projects. In 2020, the website transitioned from BCcampus to an external hosting organization.
Award for Excellence in Open Education
Recognizing the extraordinary educators making outstanding contributions to the open education movement in B.C., we have developed an Award of Excellence in Open Education program. Each month, we announce the award winner and provide them with a certificate of recognition and a profile on the BCcampus website. We are grateful for the opportunity to have such a diverse and talented group of local professionals working with us to improve the open landscape across the province.
Award winners for 2019/2020:
“The ABE Zero Textbook Cost project has provided grants for 18 open educational resources (OER) for courses across all levels of Adult Basic Education (ABE). These free, openly licensed resources mean that students have a pathway to graduation at each level of ABE where they will not have to purchase textbooks. Each of the OER created is aligned with the outcomes outlined in the BC ABE Articulation Handbook and are editable and customizable for faculty."
Project Manager, Health, ECE & ABE ZTC Programs
Adult Basic Education
In 2018, we were funded $250,000 by the Province for the creation, modification, distribution, and evaluation of textbooks for the British Columbia adult graduation diploma courses. This grant laid the foundation for the Adult Basic Education (ABE) Zero Textbook Cost project, an entire suite of freely available resources—including textbooks, test banks, and homework assignments—to replace costly commercial educational resources in Adult Basic Education and health programs. Through a secondment from the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Krista Lambert has been leading the planning, development, and implementation for this much-needed project.
Zed Cred Becomes ZTC
We made a simple-yet-significant change to our Zed Cred concept during the past fiscal, recognizing that institutions are wary of using zero to describe a course or program. There was some confusion as to what the zero represented — was it zero credits or zero costs? Thus evolved the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) program, which offers a better understanding of where the program costs were being eliminated, and creating awareness that the program offered full credits.
The Justice Institute of British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University are currently developing or offering at least one ZTC course, and we are eager to work with more institutions to develop additional ZTC offerings with them.
Mental Health and Wellness Projects
We have developed two projects related to mental health in the B.C. post-secondary system:
- Mental Health—Staff and Faculty Training provides access to learning resources for staff and faculty to better enable them to support post-secondary students with their mental health and wellness
- Mental Health—Student Resilience and Coping Training provides direct access to learning resources for students
We conducted two environmental scans to gain a robust understanding of the perceived challenges and potential opportunities regarding mental health training in B.C. The information revealed through the scans was analyzed by an advisory group to highlight gaps, opportunities, and recommendations on open resource design and delivery. The advisory group was formed specifically to provide advice on this project, and consists of students, staff, and faculty with both lived-experience and skills and training in the area of mental health in the B.C. public post-secondary education system.
We are in the process of evaluating current mental health training in the sector to identify the needs which will inform the next steps to improving access to mental health training to students, staff, and faculty in the B.C. post-secondary education system.
“This project is about addressing significant gaps in training resources for peers working in our province—but it is more than that. It is about acknowledging the value of peer support and uplifting their voices. It is about honest and meaningful engagement to enhance capacity and improve outcomes for people accessing mental health and substance use services. It is also about addressing the institutional barriers that continue to impact peers in a negative manner.
We are working diligently to bring peers to the table, ensuring their voices are heard, and their needs are addressed with the highest priority.”
Project Manager, Provincial Peer Training Curriculum, BCcampus
Mental Health and Substance Use Provincial Peer Training Curriculum
Working with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions (MMHA), we are collaborating with a variety of peer stakeholders, leaders, advocates, post-secondary institutions, and organizations across our province for the development of a Provincial Peer Support Worker Training Curriculum and Standards of Practice.
The purpose of this project is to develop peer support training curriculum and educational resources that:
- Are informed and evaluated by existing peer support organizations and persons with lived experience in B.C.
- Recognize the valuable contributions that peer support workers make in supporting people in healing, harm reduction, and recovery
- Are available to employers and post-secondary institutions who would like to offer provincially approved training, free of charge
- Are informed by Indigenous Peoples so that they are culturally safe and embrace Indigenous perspectives on healing and wellness
- Incorporate the policy and practice principles described within the B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions’ Pathway to Hope Strategy
- Reflect the diverse needs of the population through the application of a Gender-Based Analysis Plus
Sexual Violence and Misconduct Projects
We have worked on several projects related to sexual violence and misconduct (SVM) in the B.C. post-secondary system:
- Plain language supports: providing assistance to 16 PSIs to review their procedures and communications regarding SVM from a plain language perspective.
- Student Climate Survey: contracted with a surveyor and working with AEST and the PSI sector to develop and implement a Student Climate Survey to assess the attitudes, knowledge, and perceptions about SVM on campus. Survey implementation tentatively scheduled for fall 2020.
- Supports for smaller, rural institutions: arranging for requested training to better support rural institutions with awareness, prevention and responding to SVM incidents. Also exploring additional identified areas of interest.
- Training Resources: facilitating the review, development and access to quality SVM training resources for the B.C. post-secondary system.
- SVM Forum: organized a forum last June which brought students, staff, and faculty together to learn from colleagues and leaders and to share insights and best practices regarding SVM.
Work on many of these projects will continue over the next several months.
“BCcampus has been working closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training as well as many subject matter experts from within the B.C. post-secondary sector to support the sector with awareness, prevention and responding to SVM.”
Project Manager, Collaborative Projects, BCcampus
Engineering First Year Core Curriculum
In the spring of 2019, we were asked by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to help develop a program to create a common first-year curriculum for engineering courses delivered by institutions in B.C.
The project objectives:
- Improve access and opportunity for success in engineering education for B.C.’s diverse post-secondary learners
- Create opportunities for regional community engagement and partnerships within the engineering sector, encouraging graduates to return to employment in smaller, non-urban communities
- Enhance the student learning environment and improve retention and achievement in engineering across the province by maximizing the use of student supports, class size, and regional diversity
- Enhance quality reporting for accreditation processes
- Improve overall efficiencies within the post-secondary system
Learning Access Program for Educators
The BCcampus Learning Access Program for Educators (LAP-E) continued to be an effective vehicle to provide financial assistance to educators throughout the province, participating in events they may not have otherwise been able to attend. The goal of the LAP-E program is to bring diverse voices to the events to ensure we are providing value to all educators and learning professionals in B.C., and not just the ones fortunate enough to live close to a BCcampus event.
For fiscal 2019-2020, we invested $8,936.70 to have seven people from six institutions join us at professional development events.
In October, we congregated at Coast Mountain College in Terrace, B.C., for an all-day event focused on the transformation of our approaches and practice to teaching and learning. Symposium 2019 was an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap between K-12 teaching partners and post-secondary institutions; the two groups working together to improve learning for K-16.
The Symposium 2019 logo was created by Jamie Nole, a Northwest Coast artist, and brought a distinct look and feel to the event identity.
ETUG 25th Anniversary
Working with the talented team at Thompson Rivers University, we enjoyed a rich and fruitful collaboration to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG). With a Back to the Future theme, the event was content-rich — featuring great speakers and a robust program — as well as experience-rich, thanks to some magical work by our event planner, Christy Foote, who found a local car collector willing to donate access to his tricked-out DeLorean for the event attendees.
“At Symposium 2019, we learned so much about the amazing work and people and places connected to Coast Mountain College. We were concerned that since the location was outside the lower mainland it would be a challenge for attendance, but more people attended this event in Terrace than last year in Vancouver! It was a wonderful, reciprocal, fun collaboration that resulted in a rich learning experience for people in PSE, not only about experiential and scholarly teaching and learning, but also the CMTN community, people, and place.”
Director, Learning & Teaching, BCcampus
Vice President of Academics Messaging
In February, we created a series of information packages to share with the vice president of academics at each of the 25 post-secondary institutions we support throughout the province, showcasing the work we do and sharing highlights of the accomplishments and contributions made by their respective institution. The packages were assembled in-house and gave us an opportunity to communicate the great work being done across B.C.
Teaching and Learning Professional Development
Last year, we launched a Teaching and Learning Professional Development portal: a web resource designed to share and showcase professional development opportunities for faculty, instructors, and staff at post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. To date, we have had more than 2000 visits to more than 100 events shared via the portal.
The TLPD site also features valuable resources for post-secondary educators in the New and Noteworthy section, showcasing materials such as e-learning tools, textbooks, and a variety of guides and toolkits, many of which are created by and for educators in B.C.
BCcampus Online Book Club
We continued to host the BCcampus Book Club, a professional learning event for everyone in the province interested in teaching and learning and sharing ideas. We incorporated learnings from the previous year to bring more value to the participants, and invited highly knowledgeable facilitators from our post-secondary community to lead the discussion on each chapter of the selected book, small Teaching, by James M. Lang.
Open Homework System
Another exciting project that we worked on this past fiscal was the Open Homework Systems project, a two-year project to explore open-source alternatives to commercial online homework systems. A vital first step was to assemble a cross-sectoral advisory group to help guide the project development. The advisory group includes representation from seven different institutions and organizations and is composed of two instructors, a student, an instructional designer, a course materials supervisor, and an open education strategist.
We’re fortunate to have a highly motivated and engaged team of professionals working with us, and we feel it’s important that good performance is recognized and shared. To acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the people who make it possible for us to support the post-secondary institutions of B.C., we’ve implemented a SuperHeroes program. Each month, we select a team member who has done an exceptional job of supporting the BCcampus vision and values, gone beyond expectations, or delivered consistently excellent results on a regular basis.
Robynne Devine, Rebecca (Becca) Shortt, and Corey Ranger have been recognized for their contributions to the learning community in 2020.
“Over the past fiscal, we’ve pushed ourselves to do better – internally, as well as for the students and institutions we support throughout the province. We’ve conceived, strategized, and delivered our ideas and recommendations through a variety of channels, refining and improving our processes; recording what works and revising what doesn’t. In the coming years, we’ll continue to create a strong presence in the digital marketing space to create interest and engagement for all things open, and set the standard for accessibility at the institutional level for learners and leaders in the academic space of B.C.”
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Marketing and Communications
Creating awareness about the work completed by our internal teams and partner institutions is vital to the sustainability of open education and open pedagogy in B.C. and across the country. Our marketing and communication team has generated consistently excellent content to showcase the successes and challenges, people and processes working throughout the year to improve the learning landscape for educators, learners, and everyone involved in post-secondary education. We don’t do this to promote BCcampus — we do it to create awareness about open activities, interesting research being completed by local professionals, and the importance of making post-secondary education accessible, affordable, and effective.
Over the past fiscal year, we’ve created over 150 blog posts, 50 new webpages, and promoted 57 events, generating over 150,000 pageviews through 42,000+ visits to BCcampus.ca.