Open Education announcements from BCcampus

The back-to-school term has started off with a bang and we have lots of exciting things to report, such as the brand new Awards for Excellence in Open Education, currently accepting your submissions. We would also like to share a few newsworthy items as we continue to contribute to the open education movement – globally.

Cape Town Declaration

A couple of weeks ago, Mary Burgess, Executive Director, BCcampus signed the Cape Town Declaration on behalf of BCcampus. The Cape Town Declaration was put in place 10 years ago as a way to “accelerate efforts to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education”.

This important, symbolic document really embodies the principles of Open that drive our work at BCcampus – right across the organization. Having done this, we would like to pause and take a 50,000-foot view of the work we are doing in the global context. We feel very proud and humbled to be a part of these huge efforts!

Communities of Open Education Practitioners – Physics & Psychology

We at BCcampus are keen to bring together educators from the same discipline who are interested in open education. We refer to these groups as COEPs (Communities of Open Education Practitioners).

The idea behind creating these groups is to facilitate collaboration and sharing among like-minded disciplinary colleagues across different institutions, both within and beyond B.C. This might, for example, involve proposing and peer reviewing revisions to within specific open textbooks, sharing ancillary teaching resources, or even helping identify the need for/collaboratively developing additional open educational resources.

These groups are designed to be informal and, importantly, your level of involvement is entirely up to you. So, for example, you may choose to draw on shared resources for your own teaching and assist colleagues by reviewing a newly-discovered open textbook. Or you may choose to propose the development of a question bank to support an open textbook, recruit collaborators, and apply to BCcampus for funding to support your project. Or none of the above (again, this is entirely up to you).

Our goal at BCcampus is to support open education throughout the province and our experiences tells us that there is no substitute for connecting with like-minded colleagues. We have just launched COEPs for Physics and Psychology, but more will follow in the not-too-distant- future, so if you’re interested, please reach out to the BCcampus OpenEd team.

Global OER Report

The Commonwealth of Learning has just released the Open Educational Resources: Global Report 2017. This Global Report provides the outcomes of six regional consultations and global surveys conducted prior to the 2nd World OER Congress. BCcampus is pleased to be referenced throughout the report as a leader in Open Education; from Open Textbooks to Open Policy.

2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan

After much consultation with the global open education community, the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan has now been adopted. This plan focuses on five main areas:

  • Building the capacity of users to find, re-use, create and share OER
  • Language and cultural issues
  • Ensuring inclusive and equitable access to quality OER
  • Developing sustainability models
  • Developing supportive policy environments

With meaningful and strategic goals that are globally recognized, we can do our part as an organization to ensure that the strategic OER goals of British Columbia align with the action plan to escalate open education globally.

Noba Advisor

We’re also really excited to share that Rajiv Jhangiani, Advisor, Open Education has been appointed to sit on the board of advisers for Noba. Noba is a “free online platform that provides high-quality, flexibly structured textbooks and educational materials” and in 2016 and 2017, the Noba Project provided 7 million dollars worth of materials to students around the globe.

Rajiv has been one of the longest and closest allies of Noba so this is a perfect way to rekindle and formalize our alliance. This is a two-year term and we are sure that we will hear more about it over the coming months.

OpenCon 2017

The Open Con annual conferences seek to bring together a diverse, representative, and highly engaged group of participants. OpenCon is a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information—from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital research data.This year, two members of the BCcampus Open Education team, Josie Gray and Rajiv Jhangiani were accepted to attend OpenCon 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

Notable quotes:

I am delighted and excited to have the opportunity to return to OpenCon. As an advocate for Open Education, Open Access, or Open Science you understand that these movements have shared values, but at OpenCon you actually see these values manifest in the energetic, creative, and utterly brilliant work of young colleagues across the world, including our own Josie Gray. It is a humbling, inspiring, and invigorating experience. – Rajiv Jhangiani, Advisor, Open Education

In the short year that I’ve been with BCcampus, I’ve learned so much about open education, open textbooks, and the challenges that the open textbook movement faces in post-secondary education. However, the open movement extends well beyond textbooks and I have so much still to learn. Not only will OpenCon 2017 will give me the opportunity to see the projects and initiatives that people around the world are working on, it will also help me understand how the work I do fits in with the work of this global community.” – Josie Gray, Open Education Production Assistant



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