B.C. Open Textbook Collection Through the Years (2014–2021)
In May BCcampus reflected on the growth of the B.C. Open Textbook Collection, which expanded from an Open Summit with 25 attendees who met at the SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver in 2013 to an internationally attended, three-day event where thought leaders shared ground-breaking ideas, research, and best practices for using open educational resources (OER).
Throughout 2022 we celebrated 10 years of open textbooks in B.C. with a series of retrospective blog posts and the launch of the new B.C. Open Collection. Begun as the B.C. Open Textbook Project in 2012, our open textbook initiative was originally intended to provide open textbooks for the top 40 most-enrolled first- and second-year B.C. post-secondary subject areas. Over 10 years, the project grew beyond our wildest dreams: now we have over 300 open textbooks and more than a dozen open course packs in our collection.
Filling in the Gaps
The Open Education Time Investment Grant series ended this year. These grants gave educators the time and resources to work on open education projects that may otherwise have fallen to the side of their desks. Annette Sorensen and Scott van Dyk at Coast Mountain College developed an open textbook for business law and ethics courses. The traditional paid-textbook materials either didn’t discuss Indigenous groups or viewed them from a Eurocentric perspective as an obstacle to overcome when doing business. Annette and Scott’s book, Indigenous Perspectives on Business Ethics and Business Law in British Columbia, features chapters that address these important topics.
Taking the Time to Create Student Guides
Another venture made possible through the BCcampus Open Education Time Investment Grant was 10 chapters for a work-integrated learning student OER, led by Melissa Fournier, work-integrated learning coordinator at the College of New Caledonia (CNC). The resource bridges a gap in students’ access to learning that was interrupted by COVID-19. Using activities in the resource, students can develop workplace communication skills, learn about giving and receiving feedback, practice problem-solving, and use work-integrated learning to develop career opportunities. The resource was integrated with CNC’s learning management system to be used across disciplines.
Zero-Textbook Cost Pathways for Adult Basic Education Students in B.C.
BCcampus has come closer than ever to a B.C. adult basic education zero-textbook-cost program, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. In the summer of 2018, a steering committee identified adult basic education subjects that would benefit from OER. BCcampus issued calls for proposals for English and math courses, and the ministry funded 25 new and adapted resources.
BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education
The BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education recognizes outstanding contributions from individuals or teams to the open education movement in B.C., such as significant leadership, OER development, research, and advocacy by faculty, students, support staff, or administrators at post-secondary institutions as well as others who support the B.C. post-secondary system.
Open Homework Systems Project Wrap-Up
To reduce the cost of homework systems for students, BCcampus received funding from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills in 2019 to explore open-source software solutions to commercial publishers’ homework platforms. The project was initially slated to end in March 2021, but due to COVID-19, it was extended to the summer of 2022.
BCcampus awarded nearly $200,000 to 12 B.C. post-secondary institutions for 19 projects funded by three grants. We invested an additional $50,000 to support grantees with the H5P Kitchen website and community-support sites for H5P grantees, six open H5P support webinars, and technical consultation services for WeBWorK grantees.
""For several years commercial publishers have been marketing online tools to faculty that provide curriculum to students. These digital resources include textbooks, ancillary resources, and homework systems. The last of these can be a significant financial burden for students.""
Acting Director, Open Education at BCcampus
Quality Through Collaboration: Open Problems and Images for Physics
As awareness and adoption of OER increase, so too does the need for ancillary resources such as practice problems, online homework systems, and high-quality images. Educators Agnes d’Entremont (associate professor of teaching, mechanical engineering, UBC Vancouver) and Jennifer Kirkey (instructor and department chair, physics and astronomy, Douglas College) have been creating statics and dynamics problems for the WeBWorK Open Problem Library and an eventual open textbook. With a government subsidy for hiring co-op students during the pandemic, an institutional grant, and BCcampus funding, they hired five co-op students to work on developing problems. The work continued through 2022, with a series of co-op and part-time students joining and working on the project.
Zero Textbook Cost OER for Trades
To start the new fiscal year, the BCcampus provincial trades representative for open education, Tim Carson, discussed the history of the Plumbing Level 3 Open Project, a collaboration between BCcampus and SkilledTradesBC to develop a complete level of the Plumbing Apprenticeship Program.
The Plumbing Articulation Sub-Committee for Resource Development guided the Plumber Level 3 resource. This peer-reviewed resource, which covers all the content required by SkilledTradesBC, is complete and in the final stages of publication.
OER Production Series
During 2022–2023, BCcampus hosted a series of webinars to help faculty, staff, and students in B.C. find, use, and share OER. The sessions covered many essential aspects of OER, including copyright and Creative Commons licences and how to find, use, and properly attribute OER. The series also provided information about using Pressbooks, improving accessibility in OER, and applying Universal Design for Learning.
On March 9, 2022, we launched the BCOpen Listserv to strengthen the open education community of practice in B.C. The listserv merged the members of two existing B.C. open education listservs into one big community. Modelled after the popular American CCCOER community email, BCOpen is a place where members can share news about open education developments, find OER, and ask questions about open education in B.C.