Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at BCcampus
To better understand the existing framework that supports Learning and Teaching, BCcampus worked with Chanelle Tye of Chanelle Tye Equity and Inclusion Consulting to review the organization’s capabilities around equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) by auditing a pair of programs in the Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) series. The findings revealed much about our approach to EDI and our team’s capacity for continuing EDI work.
Through the EDI audit findings, BCcampus learned how to better approach their work with an EDI lens, such as to
- Be more consistent in the use of plain, inclusive language. Avoid idioms and cultural references that lack context and meaning to learners from other cultures (e.g., “an aha moment” or “nuggets”). This was done by referencing available tools, such as Plain Language Best Practices and one from the B.C. government website: Words Matter: Guidelines on Using Inclusive Language in the Workplace [PDF].
- Be more intentional in our choice of resources and the scholars we cite in our work to reflect diversity (e.g., look beyond Eurocentric perspectives and scholarly work).
- Consider and explore non-traditional spaces or communication channels to promote programs and messages to equity-seeking groups (e.g., BIPOC groups on Facebook).
Practicing Reconciliation Throughout the Year
At BCcampus we know reconciliation is a long and complex process. As we work toward decolonizing our practices, we are taking small actions to have a widespread impact, both in our work and for the people we work in partnership with.
Understanding that reconciliation isn’t something that happens through a checklist of activities, the team created focus throughout the year to support and communicate the work BCcampus is doing to decolonize our practices personally and professionally. Here are some of the activities we engaged in together in 2022.
- Orange Shirt Day crocheting
- Internal Indigenous book club
- Indigenous History Month art activity
- Indigenous guest speakers with backgrounds in art, entrepreneurship, and education shared their experiences with us
- Indigenous learning circle
Creating a better user experience
The B.C. Open Textbook Collection has been a monumental success since its inception in 2012, and earlier this year BCcampus reached over $30 million in student savings via the open library that now exceeds 400 textbooks and 5860 adoptions. To deliver a better experience for future users, BCcampus updated the collection’s website, focusing on user experience, ease of access, and findability.
In the summer of 2022, BCcampus contracted with the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) to test the accessibility and usability of the B.C. Open Collection and BCcampus promotional websites. NNELS testers with personal and lived experiences tested the sites and suggested improvements, and the development team worked to implement the requested changes. Although the BCcampus team couldn’t solve all issues, we made many improvements, and the sites are now much more universally usable, especially for people who use assistive tech.
“For the current iteration of the Open Collection website, it was imperative that we connect with the users to better understand how they were accessing the resources. We conducted user testing to see where the pain points were, then brought the data back to the team to find ways to minimize — or eliminate — these issues. From simple language concerns to broader accessibility issues, we were able to launch the new collection — with more open resources and ancillary materials — to continue delivering student savings in B.C.”
Acting Director, Open Education, BCcampus
Decolonize First: Learning and Teaching Team’s Journey
At BCcampus we strive to share from a position of experience where possible. In 2019 the Learning and Teaching team formalized Indigenous engagement into our yearly work planning and goal setting. In September 2021, the team of six started to work through the Decolonize First workbook created by Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee.
The team wanted to share their experiences as a group of non-Indigenous people who have been asked to — and personally want to — decolonize their work. In the spirit of full transparency, Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee offers a course to work through this workbook; the team did not take that course.
Through completing this workbook, the team explored definitions and dimensions of decolonization and started decolonizing their own thinking and work habits.