Open Education Stories: Improving access and affordability for students at the Justice Institute

The is our third video, in our series which aims to share stories of how open education is transforming teaching and learning across B.C.’s post-secondary sector and making education more accessible for all learners.

Post by Lucas Wright, Advisor, Open Education

In the first video, Dr. Jennifer Barker, a Biology instructor at Douglas College, shared how she is helping to remove barriers to education. In the second video, Dr. Jonathan Verett and Dr. Agnes D’Entremont, professors in the Engineering program at the University of British Columbia explained how they are improving their students learning experience and creating open resources that reduce financial barriers.

In this video, Tannis Morgan, Director, Centre for Teaching, Learning, & Innovation and Steve McCartney, Program Director of the Police Academy at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) elaborate on how they wanted to remove resource costs for students in the Law Enforcement Studies (LESD) Diploma program long before the concept of Zed Creds gained prominence in British Columbia. A leader and innovator in the OER field, JIBC, with the support of BCcampus, is now well on their way to developing one of the first Zed Creds in Law Enforcement Studies in Canada.

The Law Enforcement Studies Diploma program is a two-year diploma program that prepares students for a career in law enforcement, security, and other related careers. In addition to tuition fees students initially needed to pay $1,500 for textbooks and resources. The JIBC is now in the process of eliminating these costs for students with the creation of a Zed Cred. A Zed Cred/Z-Degree is a set of courses in a specific program area that allows a student to earn a credential, such as an associate degree or certificate program, with zero textbook costs by way of using open educational resources and free library materials. The creation of an open textbook by the faculty members enables them to be able to create something that aligns directly with their course outlines and learning outcomes.

According to Krista Lambert, the Instructional Design lead for this initiative, the Zed Cred will provide significant benefits for students. She notes that “the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma program is one of our largest enrollment programs and affects the largest number of students and so the benefits to students are tremendous. We have a lot of comments from students that they appreciate the quality and directness of the open books and they provide the right level of content.”

This year, BCcampus awarded JIBC with a grant to continue to develop open resources to support this project. With 11 out of 20 of the current Law Enforcement Studies Diploma program using open textbooks, JIBC is well on its way and plan to finish the remaining nine courses by fall 2020. This will reduce costs substantially for students taking the program, and will develop resources that leverage the expertise of the faculty that are even more relevant and contextualized to law enforcement in British Columbia.

Learn more:

Join us for an upcoming event:

To stay informed with BCcampus by signing up for our newsletter, visiting our calendar and following @BCcampus on Twitter.