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Announcing BCcampus’ 2020 Open Education Grant Recipients: Laying Foundations and Sustaining Futures

Everyone can now participate in the province’s vision of open and affordable education. No experience needed.

This year, BCcampus offered two types of grants for institutions that bookend each side of the open education spectrum, from foundational, when institutions examine how open education may be incorporated into their teaching systems, to sustainable, for institutions looking to improve and maintain open education practices already in place.

Post by Lauri Aesoph, Manager, Open Education 

Added to this, and in light of the financial constraints faced by B.C.’s post-secondary institutions during the current pandemic, BCcampus removed the standard requirement that applicants secure matching funds from their institutions equal to the grant total.

The foundational grants will support three key efforts for institutional grantees:

  1. Curation and — when needed — the customization of open educational resources (OER) that replace or supplement commercial resources used by faculty
  2. Education of faculty and students about open educational practices (OEP) and how these might be incorporated into their teaching
  3. Strategies that consider how open education might fit into institution-wide planning and policies

For institutions looking to sustain established open educational systems, key efforts include:

  1. Supporting the development of engaging, interactive OER that replace or supplement commercial resources used by faculty
  2. Encouraging faculty to incorporate OEP into their teaching
  3. Considering how OEP and OER might fit within its overall strategy on teaching, learning, and scholarship, and what steps can be taken to begin or continue this process

With financial support from the Hewlett Foundation, here are this year’s successful applicants.

Foundation

College of the Rockies and Selkirk College 

This joint project will focus on:

  1. Identifying faculty needs and existing resources for open education development and use at each college
  2. Using these data to develop an Open Learning Resource Inventory (OLRI) and determine directions for future development of open education ancillary resources 
  3. Putting out a call that assists faculty with design, training, and support of projects that fill gaps for ancillary resources
  4. Showcasing developed OER at the Learning Region Symposium, a yearly event held by the Learning Region.

University of British Columbia Okanagan campus

This project will include:

  1. Implementation of programs, activities, and events that support advocacy and awareness building. If the university is open to students in September, the majority of events will be held in
    person and on campus. However, a contingency plan for virtual programs, activities, and events will also be made in case the university is still closed due to COVID-19.
  2. Establishment of an institutional grant program for instructors to adapt OER for their courses. The funding may be used to hire student assistants and to redesign a course that incorporates OEP.

University of the Fraser Valley

This project has the following objectives:

  1. Establishing an Open Education Faculty Fellows program, in which each fellow will run a project. To maximize institutional representation, applicants will be chosen from a variety of academic divisions.
  2. Establishing a program of Open Education Student Assistants that support and are paired with Faculty Fellows and their projects. Student Assistants will also liaise with other UFV student groups, such as the Student Union Society.

Sustainability

University of Victoria

This project is two pronged and includes:

  1. Developing a new Open Education Digital Initiatives Grant (OEDIG) program. The program will aim to build a team of up to 10 faculty members from across campus. It will include a variety of university supports, such as librarians, education technologists, book production specialists, and students.
  2. Creating an Open Education Faculty Fellows program that aims to reduce student barriers to accessibility and learning by increasing adoptions of OER at UVic.

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