The biggest barrier to open education is a lack of knowledge—we just haven’t marketed it well enough. That’s according to David Porter, the executive director of BCcampus and a long-time advocate for the benefits of adapting new technology to deliver educational opportunities.
He shared his thoughts about Harnessing the resonant value in open education: Localizing openness and innovation at the 7th annual Walls Optional conference, which took place at Victoria’s Camosun College in May.
While open education’s biggest hurdle is overcoming the fact that many people aren’t aware of its benefits, its greatest support is worldwide collaboration.
Post-secondary institutions in B.C.—who are always in competition for dollars and top-notch students—now share knowledge, and save money, by collaborating.
Examples of successful, local collaborations
- The Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver is a partnership between the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. The centre allows the partners to share a physical space, combines the expertise that each institution brings to it, meets a market need and attracts industry attention.
- The B.C. Open Textbook Project, led by BCcampus, is an opportunity for B.C. faculty and post-graduate students to work together to build new textbooks resources that fit the actual needs of students. Phase 1 of the project is complete with: 10 new open texts posted on the BCcampus website and the receipt of 60 applications from faculty (representing 17 public and three private institutions) to review an open textbook.
- Thompson Rivers University’s fall launch of the Open Education Resource University will provide accreditation for students using open educational resources (OER). BCcampus, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Athabasca University are part of this global, virtual collaboration of institutions.
- The Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges launched its Open Library Project three years ago, and has saved its students $5.5 million in textbook purchases over three years.
Collaboration isn’t easy. “Boldness is required,” says Porter. “None of this happens without a proactive push.”
Here are 5 essential steps to effective collaboration.
- Clearly define what you can do together. Ask yourself, “What can we do together that we could not do alone?”
- Keep an open mind.
- Adapt to data. Commit to data-informed decision making.
- Share what you learn. When you create, share your work openly so that others may use and share it too.
- Pick an organization to administer the project. After all, there’s a lot of data and people to manage and buy-in to build.
If there were ever an opportunity for instructors in Canada to Canadianize textbooks, open resources would be the way. – David Porter, executive director, BCcampus
Education is an ecosystem, which makes it more complicated than simply the tools we use. What we need to consider as we begin to bring innovations into the education system—and this includes open education—is how it affects that ecosystem and the activities that happen within it. – David Porter, executive director, BCcampus
Click and learn
- David Porter video
- David Porter PowerPoint slides
- Collaboration Is the New Competition, Harvard Business Review
- Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges Open Course Library
Photo Credit CC BY Camosun College
Posted by BCcampus Editorial Staff