Open Education Stories: OER for Trades

Six years ago, Chad Flinn, an industrial construction instructor at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), was approached by a student who wanted additional assistance. Chad started to ponder his approach and decided that the notes he was writing on the whiteboard in class might translate to an iPad whiteboard app and be suitable for uploading to a YouTube channel so that students could access the videos at their convenience when studying. The approach was a success and fast forward to today, where Chad has 95 Creative Commons licensed YouTube videos on his YouTube channel, The Electric Academy and over 14,000 subscribers.

Post by Krista Lambert, Instructional Designer, Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) 

Chad hasn’t stopped there; he’s created an open textbook for his students and he strongly believes in open educational resources for trades. Last month, he hosted a webinar alongside Amanda Coolidge, Senior Manager, Open Education at BCcampus, to promote the adoption and creation of OER in these fields.

For Chad, there are two things, in particular, he’s passionate about when it comes to open education. First, he recognizes the financial burden of textbooks on students in the trades. He’d like his students to invest in tools for their trade rather than textbooks that are only used for a short time in class.

Second, Chad’s passion for experimenting with new teaching methods has led him to embrace new, open activities that allow his students to engage with the material in an interactive way. Assignments he’s tried include having his students wire and program Raspberry Pi computer units, and having his students build their own open textbooks using Google Slides.

Chad encourages fellow instructors, “[With open], there’s so much more value in the teaching methods. This allows us to be way more creative with our teaching. We no longer are just having to lecture based off the textbooks and our notes. We can involve students in the co-creation [of content] …the sky’s the limit.”

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