Reviewing Our Work from an EDI Lens
This year we worked with Chanelle Tye Equity & Inclusion Consulting to review some of our programs. We learned a lot about better practices from her recommendations:
- We are more consistent with plain, inclusive language. We avoid idioms and cultural references that lack context and meaning to learners (e.g., “an aha moment” or “nuggets”). We use the following references: SickKids Learning Institute Plain Language Writing Checklist [PDF] and the B.C. government’s Words Matter: Guidelines on Using Inclusive Language in the Workplace [PDF].
- We are more intentional in our choice of resources and the scholars we quote to reflect diversity (e.g., we look beyond Eurocentric perspectives and scholarly work).
- We consider and explore non-traditional spaces or communication channels to promote programs and messages to equity-seeking groups (e.g., BIPOC groups on Facebook).
Taking Action Toward Reconciliation Throughout the Year
We understand the importance of decolonizing our thinking as a way to decolonize our practices. We can’t accomplish this if awareness and education are reduced to one day a year. This year we updated our Elder payment plan, amended processes in the Collaborative Projects model, reviewed and changed contract language, built relationships with Elders, and put relationships at the centre of our work. Working on these projects means we learn about Indigenous peoples, cultures, knowledges, and histories. We spent the year building relationships with Indigenous educators, artists, writers, and entrepreneurs. 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
- Indigenous learning circle
Creating a better user experience
The B.C. Open Textbook Collection has been a huge success since it began in 2012. Earlier this year BCcampus reached over $30 million in student savings through a bank of open educational resources (OER) that now includes 400 textbooks and 5,860 adoptions. To improve the experience for future users, we updated the collection’s website, focusing on user experience, accessibility, and searching.
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 websites. NNELS testers with personal and lived experiences suggested updates. Through these improvements, our sites are now more accessible, especially for people who use assistive technologies.
“For the current version of the B.C. Open Collection website, it was important to connect with users to understand how they accessed 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, we were able to launch the new collection with more open resources and ancillary materials.”
Acting Director, Open Education, BCcampus
Decolonize First: Learning and Teaching Team’s Journey
In September 2021 the Learning and Teaching team started the Decolonize First workbook created by Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee. The team explored decolonization and reflected on their thinking and work habits. They shared their experiences as a group of non-Indigenous people who want to explore what it means to “decolonize” work and to encourage others to consider Nahanee Creative as a source of learning materials and inspiration.