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High-Quality Open Online Courses

Researching, planning, and developing a new course has always been costly and time-consuming, and with the increased pressure of delivering most or all courses online, there’s a level of demand and complexity like never before. The Open Online Courses Project from BCcampus is designed to help you assemble high-quality, peer-reviewed, post-secondary courses.

Post by BCcampus’ editorial team

We first announced the Open Online Courses Project in mid-June, with a goal of developing a compilation of open educational resources (OER) for the most transferrable and highest-enrolled courses in the province. Our internal teams and external partners have been working diligently to bring this collection together, at all times focusing on providing resources that meet your requirements and exceed your expectations as an instructor in B.C.

“It takes a village to create a project like this, with input and feedback from our folx in Open, Collaborative Projects, Learning + Teaching, and of course, our stakeholders,” explained Robynne Devine, project manager at BCcampus. “A ton of work has been done already, and we’ll continue to build on this framework over the next several months. A big thanks to our dev-ops team for making this a reality in a highly compressed timeframe.”

Removing Financial Barriers 

Creating a course is an expensive proposition for many institutions, so we’ve taken on the cost so you can focus on delivering a quality learning experience for students.

“This has been an ambitious and rewarding project for all of us,” said Tracy Roberts, director of Teaching + Learning at BCcampus. “We know it costs a lot of time and money to develop quality courses from scratch – upwards of $15,000, and months in development – even more with media.  This is a significant challenge, particularly for smaller institutions. We’ve created options that help fast track development time and slash course development costs. Educators can visit the collection, choose a course that best fits their instructional goals, tweak it as they see fit, and then focus on establishing and facilitating a supportive learning environment for all students…”

Course Design and Content 

The open courses and materials in the collection will go through multiple stages of quality control to ensure they are ready for prime time in your program. Our main goal was to deliver high-quality, high-value, highly curated resources. We’ve accomplished this by developing a multi-stage quality assurance program and by focusing on collecting the metadata required to ensure the content is easily findable, no matter how you’re searching for it. Everything in the collection will be labelled to indicate which reviews have been done to date.

Course design is ID-reviewed

The first step in the quality control process is a robust review by a skilled instructional designer to ensure the course “hangs together” from a design perspective. Learning goals, activities, and assessments are checked for alignment. Materials reviewed for Universal Design for Learning (UDL) features, representation, and accessibility.

Content is peer-reviewed

Once the OER has been reviewed and approved from a course design and accessibility perspective, the course content is peer-reviewed by a subject matter expert with experience and training in the relevant field. They review the materials to ensure it’s relevant, appropriate, and current for today’s learning environments.

Transferability

An essential part of this project was ensuring that the course materials are easily transferable, as outlined by the B.C. Transfer Guide. Where possible, we’ve intentionally compiled content that will be recognized by all post-secondary institutions in the province.

Available Now

The Open Online Course new collection website is now available, featuring two courses that you can start tomorrow and more working their way through the approval and review process. 

Courses you will find in the collection today include:

  • Business Communications 
  • Business Communications 2

Visit Collection.BCcampus.ca to find everything available at this moment, as well as a list of courses working their way through the process.

User Testing

As part of this ongoing work, the software development team is seeking educators of all experiences to test and provide feedback on the new site. We welcome those who are familiar with online and open learning, as well as those who are new to the process. User testing is a critical step in the development of the new collection, where the project team will gain immediate feedback on whether findability has been improved or not and what improvements we can make to be successful.

Notable Quote

“The quality piece was the highest priority from the beginning for our provincial advisory group, and we’d like to give a special shout out to Beverlie Dietz (Okanagan College), Laura Mackay (Capilano University), and Paula Hayden (College of New Caledonia) for being champions of course design throughout the process. Also, BCcampus’ Josie Gray, Tannis Morgan, and Clint Lalonde were key thinkers and architects of the details of this process that strikes a good balance between speed and quality” – 


Tracy Roberts, director, Learning + Teaching, BCcampus

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