Open Education at BCcampus

Throughout the past year, we have made significant strides in advancing open education, promoting accessibility and inclusivity through equity-focused projects aimed at enhancing learning experiences. Through strategic partnerships with government departments, non-profits, and post-secondary institutions, we remain at the forefront of efforts to remove barriers to education and cultivate a culture of openness across British Columbia.

Artificial Intelligence and Open Educational Resources

The BCcampus open education team released its guidelines on leveraging generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools for open educational resources (OER) content creation. As we integrate more AI tools into our daily tasks, this resource will be updated and continue to serve as a valuable reference for OER projects. See the chapter Generative Artificial Intelligence in Getting Started: OER Publishing at BCcampus to learn more about using generative AI while creating content.

Julia Alards-Tomalin and Claire Yu Yan

BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education

In 2023–2024, BCcampus presented nine recipients with the BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education. This award recognizes contributions to the open education movement in B.C. in the areas of leadership, open education resource development, research, and advocacy. Recipients include faculty, students, support staff, and administrators at post-secondary institutions as well as others who support the B.C. post-secondary system.

BCcampus congratulates all 2023–2024 recipients:

Open Course Packs for Instructors

This past year we released nine new open course packs in the subject areas of adult basic education, social science, general science, and business. These course packs were developed by a talented team of experts willing to share their knowledge and decades of teaching experience. Experts were authors of both commercial and open textbooks who were ready to create courses to bring these books to life, and instructors who created detailed instructional materials to aid teaching and learning. To maximize the effectiveness of the course packs, each course uses an open textbook as its primary instructional reference. Most of these can be found in the B.C. Open Collection.

Zero Textbook Cost OER for Trades

In 2022, a partnership between BCcampus and SkilledTradesBC led to the development of an open education plumbing apprentice resource, recognizing the significance of the plumbing trade in British Columbia and the need to reduce the cost of learning.

The project has had initial success thanks to the efforts of various contributors, including SkilledTradesBC, the Plumbing Articulation Committee, subject-matter experts, and BCcampus. Six blocks aligning with the Plumbing Apprenticeship Program, Level 3 are now available, with the resources carrying an open license for broader use. The collaboration involved subject-matter experts and a graphics team and also resulted in developing an audio resource for Plumbing Level 1 content, demonstrating the commitment to enhancing apprenticeship training in the plumbing trade through open education. The collaboration has been extended and Plumbing Level 4 will be released in spring 2024.

Open Textbook Adaptation focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

In our first equity-focused OER adaptation project, BCcampus aims to enhance the Introduction to Psychology, 1st Canadian edition, a widely used first-year psychology textbook. The Canadian textbook, adapted from an American open textbook in 2014, has seen widespread use in over 200 psychology courses in British Columbia, saving students a total of $810,000.

Collaborating with institutions across British Columbia and led by the Justice Institute of British Columbia, this initiative seeks to improve the textbook’s relevance and equity. The project poses critical questions about the effectiveness of adapting existing OER to diversify educational resources, the optimal scoping and prioritization methods, and the necessary supports for project success. Scheduled for release in spring 2024, the updated edition will continue to be available under a Creative Commons license. This initiative is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Learn more about the project at Open Textbook Equity Adaptation: Psychology.

Open Education Week Sponsorship

BCcampus provided funding to ten institutions to help them celebrate Open Education Week in March 2024. Institutions applied for up to $1,000 in funding to support Open Education Week activities on their campuses. There were a range of events, including virtual keynotes and panels, awards ceremonies for open education practitioners, and awareness-building initiatives.

Accessibility Bites

Accessibility Bites was a comprehensive five-part series addressing digital accessibility in educational environments from September 2023 to February 2024. Recordings are available for all the sessions, covering assistive technologies, image descriptions, PowerPoint slides, social media, and Word documents.

OER Production Series

In May 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 aspects of OER, including copyright and Creative Commons licenses and how to find, use, and properly attribute the resources. The series also provided information about using Pressbooks, improving accessibility, and applying universal design for learning.

Contributing to Open Education in B.C. and Abroad

Members of the Open Education team represented BCcampus at home and abroad at several conferences and events this past year.


FOSSY Conference: Clint Lalonde participated in the inaugural Free and Open Source Software Yearly (FOSSY) conference in Portland in July 2023. He shared his thoughts and key takeaways on our blog: FOSSY Reflections from Our Director of Open Education.

Hewlett EDI Learning Group: Clint and Josie Gray are members of a William and Flora Hewlett Foundation equity, diversity, and inclusion virtual learning group. This past September they travelled to San Francisco where they were able to meet with their peers and participate in two days of discussion, sharing, and exploration around equity, OER, and open education.

Open Education Global: At Open Education Global in Edmonton, Alberta in October 2023, Josie participated in a panel discussion on adapting OER to meet all students’ needs. Josie and Arianna Cheveldave shared the best practices around writing image descriptions to make OER more accessible, and Clint explored key decisions shaping large-scale open education initiatives.

Harper, Arianna, and Josie: An Asian man with glasses and two white women in their twenties leaning in close together and smiling

Josie and Arianna, two young white women, stand in front a whiteboard talking to an audience

Open Education Conference: Tim Carson, an Open Education advisor and trades representative at BCcampus, played a pivotal role in organizing the annual Open Education Conference, in November 2023. Serving as both a board of director member and co-chair of the selection committee, Tim contributed to shaping the conference program. His involvement encompassed strategic decisions on organizing tracks, session types, and overseeing the proposal review process. There was a significant presence of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) presentations. The increased TVET content, traditionally underrepresented in the open education landscape indicated growing support within the open education community for greater TVET representation on the international stage. Josie Gray also participated in a panel discussion on adapting OER at the Open Education Conference.

Accessible Publishing Summit: In January 2024, Josie attended the Accessible Publishing Summit hosted by the National Network for Equitable Library Service in Toronto. It included panels made up of people working in different parts of the publishing industry, demonstrations from people with different print disabilities, and a day of working sessions to develop recommendations. Josie worked on gathering advice and resources for publishing programs offered by colleges and universities. They explored how these programs can better integrate accessibility into their teaching.

EDUCAUSE: In December 2023 Clint was selected as an expert panelist for the 2024 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report: Teaching and Learning Edition. The results of his contributions will be published by EDUCATE this spring.