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Fostering Open Education in the North

Grants to help institutions focus some resources toward open education can really pay off. Coast Mountain College (CMTN) received an open education sustainability grant in 2019 to fund professional development opportunities focused on learning about open educational resources (OER). This grant was used to provide a day-long workshop that introduced trades faculty to OER, provide incentives for adopting OER, and provide a professional development course for instructors on using OER. These opportunities resulted in a greater awareness of OER on campus that has encouraged several instructors to apply for grants to fund the creation of new OER relevant to their subject area.

Post by Carolee Clyne, open education advisor, regional representative, BCcampus

Instructors in the trades at CMTN were introduced to OER and practices in a one-day session with speakers from around the province. The topics included open pedagogy examples in trades classrooms, assessment considerations, introduction to OER, and other related topics that introduced available options. Then COVID-19 happened, and some of the planned training had to be re-envisioned to suit the new reality of remote learning and to support faculty in challenging times. 

The professional development course CMTN developed is for the purpose of introducing OER to instructors. It was created under a Creative Commons license and is available to anyone interested in hosting this professional development opportunity. The course enables discovery and supports the exploration of adapting materials to bring interactivity elements and includes topics such as working with H5P and Hypothesis in Pressbooks, Creative Commons licenses, Traditional Knowledge Licences, open repositories, the 5Rs and OER evaluation, and the OER ecosystem in B.C., including supports and available resources. It serves as an excellent example of how OER can be shared and help save time for similar work. If you are interested in this course for your institution, please contact Tracey Woodburn, associate dean of Learning and Teaching at CMTN. 

Outcomes of this grant advanced the creation, adoption, adaptation, and dissemination of OER to instructors at CMTN. This knowledge has further expanded the OER available as some of these instructors have since created new material, such as Open Pedagogy in the Trades: Instructor Resource; have been active in the creation of courses for the OER Collection: Course Materials for Instructors; and are creating other resources currently in review for release in the coming months. Instructors of 19 courses at CMTN adopted open textbooks, saving students over $100 000. Overall, this grant investment resulted in an increase in open textbook adoption and adaptation, an increase in open resources added to the BCcampus open textbook repository, an increase in content related to CMTN‘s geographic location and the people living there, and an increase in open materials about Indigenous people and living in the North. These were all goals of the grant proposal. 

While COVID delayed some elements of the proposed grant activities by a semester, the staff at CMTN used the grant to foster and further develop open education understanding at the institution and continue to demonstrate innovation in this area. The open education conversation has started and continues to expand at CMTN. 

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