BCcampus was recently recognized for creative innovation by the Open Education Consortium, a worldwide community of higher education institutions and organizations devoted to open education and global education. The Open Education Awards for Excellence recognizes outstanding contributions within the Open Education community, and are announced each year at the Open Education Global Conference.
As part of Open Education Week, March 9-13, 2015, BCcampus has organized a week of Open Education webinars. Topics include:
- A Discussion on Open Pedagogy
- Distinguishing the dOERs: Faculty use of Open Educational Resources
- Can I actually use it? Testing open textbooks for accessibility
- Institutional Library Support
- The Open Web: (a) Lost (b) Reclaimed (c) Co-claimed (d) All of the above
These webinars are open to anyone who wishes to participate.
The third annual BC Open Textbook Summit 2015 is taking place on May 28-29, 2015 in Vancouver. The summit, which is hosted by BCcampus, brings together leaders in the Open Textbook field, faculty who are reviewing, adopting and developing Open Textbooks, student advocates, librarians, institutional administrators, government officials, and policy staff.
BCcampus recently launched a faculty fellows program aimed at encouraging more instructor and faculty adoption and use of open textbooks in British Columbia. The fellows will engage in research that determines the efficacy of open textbook use in B.C. institutions and provide mentorship to faculty new to open textbooks through presentations and consultation. The first three fellows include Christina Hendricks, a Senior Instructor in the department of Philosophy at UBC; Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, Instructor of Psychology at KPU; and Jessie Key, a Professor in Chemistry at VIU. According to Dr. Hendricks, benefitors of open textbooks include students who “don’t have to go into debt so much to pay for their education. And you’re not sacrificing quality by using open resources, so students still get very good materials for their courses”. Additionally, Dr. Hendricks points out that faculty themselves benefit by the ability to revise the textbooks and to fit them to their clases: “it’s much easier to teach with a resource you’ve managed on your own.”
BCcampus, as part of the BC Open Textbook Program, recently announced the release of two new open textbooks, both with significant contributions from post-secondary faculty in British Columbia. British Columbia in a Global Context is an introductory geography textbook written by faculty from UBC, SFU, Okanagan College and the University of the Fraser Valley. The book was created to meet the specific regional needs of BC geography courses and was developed during the first BCcampus book sprint that took place on the UBC campus earlier this summer. Mastering Strategic Management-1st Canadian Edition is a Canadian adaptation of the previously released Mastering Strategic Management textbook. Adaptations include Canadian specific content, images, and references, and the creation and inclusion of ancillary resources in the Appendix. Both of these textbooks are licensed under an open copyright license and are made available online to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public.
The BC Open Textbook Program has issued a call for applications for its faculty fellows program. The program is designed to encourage the adoption of existing open textbooks, to create advocacy and education for faculty about adaptation and creation, and to ensure the quality and relevance of the collection. Faculty fellows will be responsible for engaging in research that determines the efficacy of open textbook use in BC institutions. The specific focus of the research would be decided in consultation with the BCcampus Open Textbook team. Fellows would also provide mentorship to faculty new to open textbooks through presentations and consultation. This activity would take place both within the context of the fellows’ home institution and their discipline. Appointments will be for a one year term beginning September 2014, and each fellow will receive $10,000 at the conclusion of their service. The application deadline is August 11, 2014.
Over a period of four days, a team of five authors (Siobhán McPhee from UBC, Arthur “Gill” Green from UBC Okanagan, Britta Ricker and Cristina Temenos from SFU, and Aviv Ettya from UFV) met at UBC and wrote an entire geography textbook as part of BCcampus’s first open textbook sprint. According to Clint Lalonde, BCcampus Manager of Open Education, “whilst geography is one of the Top 40 subject areas in BC, there are currently no existing textbooks on regional BC geographic sites. We’ve been able to incorporate a lot of existing case studies, referring to many sites and historical events (such as 1960 Port Alberni tsunami). A key feature of online textbooks is that we’re also able to include such components as interactive mapping.” The free and complete textbook will be available in August 2014 for downloading at http://open.bccampus.ca. It will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license, which means that facilitators and tutors can freely further adapt and modify the text, and insert additional information to fit their specific learning context.
BCcampus is actively looking for additional instructors to join the BC Open Textbook community to review newly identified textbooks either in the original 40 highest-enrolled subject areas, or in the targeted trades. Selected reviewers are paid an honorarium of $250 per textbook. All of their peer-reviewed open textbooks are rated against a review rubric to ensure consistency and quality. The rubric includes criteria for comprehensiveness, content accuracy, interface, relevance, clarity, grammar, consistency and organizational structure. Our 5-point rating system provides a quick at-a-glance overview of the quality and usability of the open textbook. Additional funding is available for faculty and instructors who wish to adapt a textbook for their own use or create a new one. Textbook adapters and creators receive in-kind institutional contributions that can include instructional design and graphic support, editing and help with online publishing platforms. The BCcampus Open Textbook Program community already includes more than 38 instructors and professors from post-secondary institutions around the province who reviewed existing open textbooks.
The B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education has announced the second phase of the B.C. Open Textbook Initiative with a call for proposals to adapt, localize or extend an existing open textbook. Adaptations can take many forms, including but not limited to, extending an existing open textbook by creating accompanying instructional resources such as presentation files and test questions, localizing an existing open textbook so that the examples used within it are appropriate for a Canadian context, or bringing together a number of existing open educational resources to create a single text. The deadline for submission is ongoing.
BCcampus recently announced that it has chosen Simon Fraser University Document Solutions as the print-on-demand provider for the B.C. Open Textbook project. The B.C. Open Textbook project will provide flexible and affordable access to higher education resources in British Columbia by making available 40 openly-licensed textbooks. Digital versions of the texts will be free of charge to students; however, many students still prefer printed copies of their textbooks and BCcampus determined that it was important to provide print copies to students on demand for a low cost.