Pioneering Open Education Through Collaboration with BCcampus and eCampusOntario

BCcampus is very glad to be working in partnership with our colleagues at eCampusOntario. We’re collaborating in developing systems and processes to support Ontario post-secondary faculty in the review and adoption of open textbooks from the BC Open Textbook Project.

BCcampus will provide a WordPress site at that will act as the central hub for the project. This website will link to the BC Open Textbook collection and our existing reviews to help Ontario faculty make decisions about adopting or adapting Open Textbooks. BCcampus will also establish and administer a review process to enable Ontario faculty to provide feedback about the potential of the Open Textbooks from their own institutional and discipline contexts. Our goal is 25 open textbook reviews by June 1, 2018.

Where are things currently with open education and where do you hope they’ll go?

“One of the things that we’re trying to do is broaden the impact of open from a 5% to a 40-50% adoption rate and the key is to work directly with faculty and post-secondary institutions,” says David Porter, CEO, eCampusOntario. We also need to collaborate more broadly to better communicate and share the benefits of open education across Canada’s post-secondary sector.”

“Open education and thinking around open educations is only 15 years old and so we are only now starting to see great open ideas coming to fore with our faculty and students,” Porter continues. “It really is in an acculturation process because the deeply ingrained part of the culture tends to believe that instructional resources are created externally and brought to the classroom, rather than being the product of the great minds of instructors that actually work in the classrooms.”

Can you tell us how BCcampus is supporting your strategic directions?

“BCcampus has been a pioneer on the Canadian scene since its establishment in 2003, pushing forward the notion of collaboratively developed, openly licensed, shared instructional materials,” Porter explains. “The whole ecosystem that BCcampus created was about supporting faculty with workshops and training, providing forums for people to discuss ideas and bringing incentives provided by the government to the fore so people could find the time to try out these new ideas, and build products that their colleagues and peers could use in their classrooms.”

“The pioneering spirit of BCcampus is something that we’d like to capture here in Ontario as well. The quickest way for us to move forward is to take all the great work that BCcampus has put into the commons and work along with our colleagues in B.C. to move those efforts East, using them as a baseline to build our own library of open resources. It could be that open will evolve in a different way, here in Ontario, but we need a starting point that also honours the work and the resource pool that has been developed in British Columbia.”

“The other affordance we need is an incentive fund for people to try out open authoring opportunities through review, adoption, and adaptation of existing resources or the creation of new resources for gaps where no open resource exists. We plan to work with BCcampus to build an open publishing infrastructure that allows for a networked and collaborative approach to authoring, review, storage and distribution.”

David Porter adds that “the real opportunity, in the Canadian environment, is to make confederation work. That is, to come up with a collaborative structure that works for multiple jurisdictions across Canada as a peer-built, peer-managed and federated environment. Collaborative governance of resource collections will be a big part of the future of open education.”

Why is this relationship important for the system as a whole?

“BCcampus has been working with partners in other provinces to advance the open education agenda across Canada for the past couple of years. Our new collaboration with eCampusOntario really enables those of us advocating to reach many more faculty, and thus many more students,” says Mary Burgess, Executive Director, BCcampus. “More importantly, working towards a pan-Canadian agenda for open strengthens the movement in ways none of us could do on our own.”

Open textbook webinars

BCcampus will present two webinars to interested faculty in Ontario on open textbooks and the review process. These webinars will be presented in Blackboard Collaborate and recorded for future use. Stay tuned for more information on these in the not-too-distant future.

Media release

Media who are interested in finding out more are encouraged to join us Ontario’s first Open Education Summit on March 27, 2017

Notable quote

“David’s innovative work in B.C. as BCcampus’ former Executive Director created tremendous momentum in many areas, but particularly in open education and educational technology. As a mentor to many, his ability to drive change has been the impetus for improved access and learning experiences for students in B.C. and Ontario is lucky to have him doing the same for them.” – Mary Burgess, Executive Director, BCcampus

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