Taking the Time: How Okanagan College Used the Time Investment Grant

In fall 2020 BCcampus open education regional representatives were provided an opportunity to issue grants to post-secondary institutions who wanted to kick start or expand the use of open educational resources (OER). As the common refrain seemed to be “I would if only I had the time,” removing the barrier of time appeared to be the best way to meet those institutions’ needs. This focus on time as a barrier resulted in BCcampus creating the Open Education Time Investment Grant. Here is the story of how one institution used it. 

Post by Carolee Clyne, open education advisor, BCcampus

Roen Janyk at Okanagan College applied for the Time Investment Grant for release time to focus on the development of OER strategy and policy at Okanagan College. Her work involved a faculty survey that provided key information about the current state of OER at the institution. During her study, she was able to research work done in other institutions, which informed the development of a strategy and action plan. Her resulting report outlines thoughtful reflections about organization and the broad educational environment. 

The depth to which Roen was able to explore the emerging knowledge is evident in this report and demonstrates the value of the Time Investment Grant both to her institution and in the community. Her report ties to the Okanagan College strategic plan in clear language and touches on specific objectives in many areas, including learner readiness and success; excellence in teaching, programming, and applied research; working with, and learning from, the Indigenous community; supporting, serving, and engaging the community; and focus on organizational sustainability. Okanagan College benefited from this added time to look into its organizational goals and do the background work to link OER and open educational pedagogy to those goals. Being able to use work already done in these areas helps Okanagan Collage support the steps to implementation with informed understanding and thus saves time down the line.

Roen pulled together a fabulous list of existing information and a simple outline of what is happening in the province. Her environmental scan of what others are doing to manage their internal OER grants provides a structure for implementation. Current examples of issues and subsequent policies to address those challenges are clearly laid out in Roen’s work, reducing the time for others to come up to speed. She outlined many of the key topics that need attention these days, and the report links or references relevant resources. These topics include accessibility, Indigenization, and existing research. A quick guide to current articles is grouped to ideas of promoting OER awareness and garnering institution-level support, quality of OER, student outcomes, and cost savings, with a brief summary of the key points of each article.

Roen’s report provides an analysis and summary of a survey among faculty about their attitudes and use of OER. The participation rate of this survey was 24 per cent. Faculty members’ input highlighted where directional support is required. The report also provides brief summaries for various groups such as administrators; faculty, instructors, and staff; and students. 

Overall, this grant gave Okanagan College the ability to release Roen from her regular work to put time toward this report, which was released under Creative Commons license. As it was only recently released, Okanagan College has not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate its impact. 

Stay tuned! In the coming months, we’ll look at how each Time Investment Grant helps move work in open education at various institutions from “side of desk” to “center desk.” We’ll look at what each grantee encountered and achieved and where you can find the resulting resource. 

Read the report: Okanagan College Open Education Strategy & Action Plan

The featured image for this post (viewable in the BCcampus News section at the bottom of our homepage) is by Maria from Pexels