This year marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the B.C. Open Textbook Collection. In this monthly blog post series we’re looking back and highlighting some significant milestones of the project.
Post by Arianna Cheveldave, coordinator, Open Education
The year 2015 was rife with successful events, newly published open textbooks, and buzz about open education. We reached $1 million in student savings on textbooks for over 8000 students at 18 institutions in the province. By the end of the year, there were over 135 open textbooks in the B.C. Open Textbook Collection, at least 50 of which were funded by BCcampus. (Read more: BCcampus Open Textbook Project – Fall 2015 Update, The B.C. Open Textbook Project Turns Three, and 5 key lessons learned through the B.C. Open Textbook Project.)
BCcampus Open Education earned significant external recognition for its efforts in 2015. In March the Open Education Consortium (now known as OE Global) presented the B.C. Open Textbook Project with the Open Education Award for Excellence for Creative Innovation. This award “recognizes outstanding innovations that bring a new approach to open education.”
Inspired by this award, BCcampus would begin to bestow its own Award for Excellence in Open Education starting in 2017. At the time of writing, over 40 awards have been distributed by BCcampus. View past BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education recipients on our website.
In November the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation awarded a grant of USD$525 000 to the BCcampus Open Textbook Project. This was the first grant BCcampus Open Education received from the foundation. Over the course of three years, this money was used to help instructors find, adopt, and adapt open educational resources (OER); develop ancillary resources, such as videos, presentations, and test banks; fund faculty reviews of open textbooks; and develop and deliver workshops on how to use OER.
Since this initial grant, the Hewlett Foundation has continued to fund BCcampus Open Education. The current Hewlett grant was awarded in 2021, in the amount of USD$900 000 over three years.
“The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been a valuable contributor to open education in B.C.,” says Amanda Coolidge, director of Open Education, BCcampus. “With their support and generosity, we have been able to expand open education practices across the province. Our continued relationship with the Hewlett Foundation and their support for system-wide engagement in open education is what enables BCcampus to continue to earn funding.”
Getting Together in the Open
This was a banner year for open education events. Along with workshops and presentations, BCcampus hosted a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and two incredible conferences to spread the word about open.
We began the year with a four-week MOOC on Adopting Open Textbooks, hosted through Peer 2 Peer University. Facilitated by Clint Lalonde, Amanda Coolidge, and Lauri Aesoph, the workshop was intended to empower faculty to enter the world of open education. Participants learned the definitions of key terms, why they might choose open, how to distinguish between Creative Commons licences, and how to get their institutions on board with open. The course was asynchronous with optional weekly webinars, featuring appearances from other open education initiatives such as MERLOT and OpenStax.
In May we held the third annual Open Textbook Summit at the SFU Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver, attended by 175 authors, faculty, policy-makers, administrators, librarians, and students. Compared to the 28 people at the first Open Textbook Summit in 2013, this attendance level shows just how much interest in open textbooks had grown in two years. For all 32 presentations, every speaker was in the midst of an open textbook project, with several being funded by BCcampus. Acting senior manager of Open Education for BCcampus Clint Lalonde said, “After this summit, more people are going to go back to their institutions with even more interest and with more support and championing for open textbooks within their institutions.” For more on the event, read our recap of the 2015 Open Textbook Summit.
In November BCcampus and Lumen Learning co-hosted the twelfth annual Open Education Conference at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. This was the largest OpenEd Conference to date, with 500 people in attendance from across North America and farther-flung corners of the world. Attendees learned about the importance of accessibility and inclusion in the conference stream on Accessibility and OER. Representatives from BCcampus, CAST, the Inclusive Design Research Centre, and Assistive Technologies BC taught participants how to create more accessible resources. For more information, see the webpage of #OpenEd15: The Impact of Open.
In February we released the first edition of the BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit by Amanda Coolidge from BCcampus, Sue Doner from Camosun College, and Tara Robertson from the Centre for Accessible Post-secondary Education Resources BC (CAPER-BC). This guide contains instructions on how to make web content such as images, headings, and links accessible to everyone. This guide was created with the invaluable help of a focus group of students with print disabilities who user-tested B.C. open textbooks and provided feedback on how to make them more accessible. In 2017 we released a second English edition of the Accessibility Toolkit and a French translation (CB Trousse d’outils d’accessibilité pour les manuels scolaries ouverts).
BCcampus staff rely on this toolkit to this day to make our resources as accessible and inclusive as possible.
BCcampus published several other OER in 2015, including:
- BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English series
- Canadian History: Pre-Confederation
- Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care
- Concepts of Biology – 1st Canadian Edition
- Culinary Arts series
- Ethics in Law Enforcement
- Graphic Design and Print Production Fundamentals
- Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC
- Physical Geology
- Professional Cook test bank
- Trades Access Common Core series
- Writing for Success – 1st Canadian Edition
As many of these books are still in use today, or have been updated or adapted, it’s clear investment in OER in 2015 continues to pay off for students in 2022.
Stay tuned for the next post in our B.C. Open Textbook Collection Through The Years series as we revisit the milestones from 2016. Always get the latest information on news and events by subscribing to the BCcampus newsletter.