We take what we’ve learned locally and globally and use it to create informed and intentional action. Through deliberate programs, workshops, and events, we engage with educators, provide professional development, network across and within institutions, and celebrate the personal wins and professional accomplishments of the people interested in improving the learning environment within post-secondary education in B.C.
Trial by COVID-19
The novel coronavirus triggered an accelerated adoption schedule for educators throughout the province, forcing them to implement some form of online learning to safely connect with their students. While many of the educators in B.C. have had some experience with online learning, either as participants or facilitators, many had not. To help everyone through this transition, we developed a series of online sessions, titled BCcampus Online Office Hours, to address their concerns, introduce openly available resources, and hear them as they worked their way through this new experience.
In March, we hosted several online sessions, including:
- BCcampus Online Office Hours — for anyone pivoting to an online role and interested in hearing from others facing the same challenges
- The basics of online learning — covering the foundational concepts of online learning, with space for anyone to ask any question — there are no dumb questions
- Assessments — how to handle exams and group projects
- Trades-specific concerns — how to navigate the present online environment to deliver a vocational education
- Association for Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning — a virtual coffee session to discuss questions about supports for workplaces and students, how PSI are actively assisting students, and sharing current workplace challenges
- The basics of synchronous online facilitation — to help participants develop knowledge and skills in planning for, facilitating, and following up after facilitating synchronously online
Moving forward, we will include videos and resources to share as needed.
“What better way to learn about the barriers and needs of users is there than speaking with and observing how users interact with the system? The project team has been busy collecting data from users and will soon be testing initial ideas with them with the goal of reducing as many barriers as possible to using BCcampus OER.”
Justice Institute of British Columbia, seconded to BCcampus
Open Educational Resources
We have continued to thrive and grow in the realm of open education – developing our robust and effective team and acting as vocal and engaged advocates for informed and effective OER for B.C. and the rest of the world.
The BCcampus Open Textbooks program continues to be a huge success, leading the rest of the nation in student savings, adoptions, and adaptations. Our approach to measurement has been carefully considered, ensuring that the data supports our activities, and isn’t merely vanity metrics to make us feel good about the program.
In September, we crossed a major milestone and now have over 100 Accessible Open Educational Resources available for learners throughout the province and around the world. Our list of completed projects continues to grow with new additions, editions, and ancillary resources added or updated regularly.
Open Textbooks — searchability
Melanie Meyers has been seconded from JIBC to help improve the searchability of OER and ZTC for business and STEM, ensuring users have helpful and relevant information about using OER before and after they find a relevant textbook.
Open Textbooks – by the numbers
- Student savings – $18,269,693
- Number of B.C. students using open textbooks – 153,683
- Number of B.C. institutions currently adopting – 36
- Number of known B.C. faculty adopting – 520
- Number of known B.C. adoptions – 3,261
Top 5 adopting institutions (in order)
- Douglas College
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University
- Langara College
- University of British Columbia
- Thompson Rivers University
“With regard to tracking the use of open textbooks in B.C., we’re very conservative with our numbers: we include open textbooks, but no other open educational resources (OER). We don’t include materials, such as journals available via Free Library, as the library pays a licensing fee to gain access to the learning resources. We track open textbooks, and nothing else.”
Manager, Open Education at BCcampus
Ensuring that event participants, hosts, attendees, and support teams are made to feel welcome at all BCcampus events, we have continued to deliver enhanced and often innovative features, such as:
- Complimentary childcare
- Learning Access Program for Educators (LAP-E)
- Live captioning of keynotes
- Pronouns integrated into name tags
- Accessible and universal washrooms
- Dedicated quiet room for all participants to take time out of the busy conference environment with sensory kits that include items like a weighted blanket, noise-cancelling headphones, fidget toys, and colouring books
- Presenter Ready Room for speakers to gather their thoughts and prepare for their sessions
- Free registration for students
12 Apps of Christmas
Working with ETUG, we ran the first 12 Apps of Christmas program in December of 2016: a micro-learning opportunity to share useful apps and programs with the educational technology users of B.C. This has been a popular annual event, with much conversation and engagement.
For 2020, the focus was shifted slightly to bring a new app each month, transforming the program into the 12 Apps of 2020.
Our Liberating Structures workshops are designed to improve your facilitation practice through a collection of over 33 purpose-driven activities. We have hosted nine Liberating Structures workshops since 2018, including sessions at Symposium 2019 in Terrace and in downtown Vancouver in November.
To date, we have had hundreds of participants complete a Liberating Structures workshop.
Facilitating Learning Online
The Facilitating Learning Online family of workshops is designed to help professionals develop their presentation skills. Through five skills-based courses, participants can develop their ability to effectively facilitate learning online. To date, we have hosted 18 FLO courses, with 342 attendees since 2018.
We have a great group of individuals from institutions and organizations across the province who have levelled up and are participating in the Facilitator Development/Mentorship program and co-facilitating one or more of the FLO courses:
British Columbia Teaching & Learning Council
We are happy to continue building our relationship with learning groups throughout the province, such as the British Columbia Teaching & Learning Council (BCTLC). We are a voting member of the BCTLC, and work together to plan and deliver events, such as the Symposium for Scholarly Inquiry. We also provide support for BCTLC’s operations through financial, logistical, technical, and planning contributions.
Festival of Learning 2020
Our team spent substantial time and energy to create a phenomenal learning experience for Festival of Learning 2020, but due to COVID-19, we had to cancel this and other face-to-face events until the pandemic is no longer relevant.
Our plans for FoL2020 included a partnership with the Disability Resource Network of B.C to improve our ability to deliver an event that was accessible for all, with presenter toolkits, free childcare, pronouns integrated into name tags, accessible and universal washrooms, a dedicated quiet room for presenters and attendees to pause, reflect, and collect as needed, and funding assistance to help participants from across the province enjoy the event, without financial stress, through our Learning Access Program for Educators (LAP-E). While this iteration of FoL will not happen, the learnings and partnerships created through the planning of this event will inform future events hosted by BCcampus.
“The BCTLC plays an important advisory and leadership role for the learning and teaching community of B.C. They’re both leaders, and on the ground in every B.C. post-secondary institution, which means they have unique and essential perspective and insight. They see what’s going on in the courses and classrooms, broadly share their knowledge, and create collaborative initiatives to overcome challenges and improve the learning space for everyone involved.”
Director, Learning + Teaching, BCcampus
Hold the Date
Many of the activities, learnings, and strategies we had planned for FoL2020 will be shared at the Cascadia Open Education Summit at the Pinnacle Hotel in downtown Vancouver B.C., April 8-9, 2021.
2019 Cascadia Open Education Summit
Co-hosted with our regional colleagues: Lumen Learning, Open Oregon Educational Resources, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the Cascadia Open Education Summit created an opportunity for new and experienced OER advocates offering the opportunity to learn and share effective practices in awareness building, implementation, collaboration, strategy, and research.
Working with the people involved directly in the areas we want to improve is an important part of our current development and future success. We worked with the following advisory groups over the past 12 months:
- BCcampus Advisory Group – focused on teaching and learning, open practices, and collaborative activities
- British Columbia Teaching and Learning Council – leaders from all publicly-funded BC post-secondary institutions, focussing on collaboration and resource sharing on teaching and learning, educational technology, open education, leadership, and PSI policies and practices
- Open Education Business Advisory Group – a system-wide advisory group consisting of individuals familiar with business programs in B.C. and the Yukon
- Open Education Trades Advisory Group – bringing a balanced and informed approach to the development of freely available resources including textbooks, test banks, homework assignments, and other ancillary supports to replace costly commercial educational materials
- Open Homework Systems Advisory Group – consisting of faculty, students, technicians, developers, and others familiar with homework systems and their use
- STEM Advisory Group – working together to reduce costs, increase access, and incentivize students to pursue programs that meet the provincial labour market and human resource needs in STEM
- Student Climate Survey Working Group – completing a climate survey to gather student perceptions of sexualized violence and misconduct at British Columbia’s public post-secondary institutions