This year we are incredibly proud to be celebrating our twentieth anniversary. Two decades ago, the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills launched BCcampus’ collaborative approach to developing online learning resources with B.C. post-secondary institutions. Since then, BCcampus has developed a reputation for excellence by providing learning and teaching experiences for all. We do this through open educational resources, innovative and inclusive approaches to learning and teaching, and support for educators to develop resources that enhance the student experience in B.C. Of course, we haven’t achieved all this on our own; we owe much of our success to the folks in the community who work with us.
Post by BCcampus’ editorial team
On our fifteenth anniversary, we talked about our roots and some of the highlights of our journey from 2003–2018. Read on to explore what we have accomplished over the past five years.
BCcampus led a project to develop open educational resources that helps increase awareness and understanding among the B.C. post-secondary sector of Indigenous histories, cultures, perspectives, and ways of knowing. Pulling Together is a set of professional learning guides that came from a collaboration with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills and a steering committee of Indigenous education leaders. BCcampus provided training, convened facilitators and guest speakers, and engaged with participants. We thank Indigenous education leaders from B.C universities, colleges, and institutes, First Nations Education Steering Committee, the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, and Métis Nation British Columbia for their guidance, support, and generosity.
Educational Electronic Health Record System
In 2017–2019 we led the development of new educational technology for classrooms in the Educational Electronic Health Record System Project. This project was funded by the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills and built on existing research and development completed by an interest group from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Douglas College, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria.
Teaching and Learning Professional Development Portal
The Teaching and Learning Professional Development portal was a searchable web resource that highlighted professional development learning events at B.C. public post-secondary institutions. Users could search for events by topic, keyword, location, or date. The Teaching and Learning Professional Development portal resulted from a collaboration between BCcampus and the B.C. post-secondary teaching and learning community.
2016 and 2018
Festival of Learning
The Festival of Learning invited educators, leaders, and professional staff into one large festival experience, the first of which was held over three days in June 2016. BCcampus was proud to host the second Festival of Learning in May 2018 at the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront. The theme for 2018 was “Higher Ed: Handle with Care” and featured workshops, breakout sessions, and social activities with a diverse group of educators, administrators, thought leaders, students, and faculty from institutions and organizations across the province.
The third Festival of Learning was planned for May 2020 but was cancelled due to the pandemic.
BCcampus Research Fellows Program
We are pleased to be celebrating the fifth year of our BCcampus Research Fellows Program, which provides B.C. post-secondary educators and students with funding to conduct small-scale research on teaching and learning and to explore evidence-based teaching practices that focus on student success. BCcampus Research Fellows have an 18-month term to explore topics such as learning and teaching online, open educational practices, student access and accessibility, and Indigenous engagement.
BCcampus Online Book Club
The BCcampus Online Book Club is a community-driven project by a group of volunteer post-secondary educators interested in opportunities to connect with colleagues on topics of professional interest in teaching and learning. The guidelines for the book club are that it be open, informal, and fun — an easy way for participants to share ideas and strategies and take what they learn into practice.
Facilitating Learning Online
To date, BCcampus has hosted 92 Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) offerings to 5839 participants. We launched FLO courses in 2019 to offer engaging learning experiences that help participants become effective online instructors. The pivot to online learning at the start of the pandemic meant rapid interest in these events, which include FLO Fundamentals, FLO Synchronous, FLO Design, FLO MicroCourses, FLO Labs, and FLO Fridays.
In 2022, BCcampus contracted an equity, diversity, and inclusion consultant to review our FLO courses, the results of which we are incorporating into all current and future FLO offerings. This year we added FLO Panels to our offerings, an opportunity to bring together folks in the B.C. post-secondary sector to discuss current trends and topics in online learning. FLO courses are grounded in research about teaching and learning online and are designed by experienced learning designers and educators. As of 2023, all FLO sessions are free to attend.
Sexualized Violence Resources
From 2019 to 2022, BCcampus led a project for the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills to develop open-source training and resources on sexualized violence in B.C. post-secondary institutions. The resulting resources include training and facilitation guides on consent and sexual violence, supporting survivors, accountability and repairing relationships, active bystander intervention, Safer Campuses for Everyone asynchronous training, a plain language supports resource, and a toolkit for evaluating sexualized violence training and resources.
Mental Health and Wellness
In partnership with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, we released five mental health and wellness resources for faculty, staff, and students between 2019 and 2023. Capacity to Connect: Support Students’ Mental Health and Wellness covers foundational mental health and wellness for post-secondary faculty and staff and ways to support students in distress. Starting a Conversation About Mental Health is an online, self-paced course that provides mental health and wellness information for post-secondary students and covers ways students can support peers who are in distress. Let’s Talk About Suicide: Raising Awareness and Supporting Students is a facilitator’s guide for use with faculty and staff that offers detailed training on suicide awareness and response. Starting a Conversation About Suicide: Foundational Training for Students includes a facilitator’s guide with handouts and a PowerPoint presentation. Nanihtsulyaz ‘int’en (Do things gently) ʔes zuminstwáx kt (We take care of one another) is a short, illustrated resource that honours Elders’ teachings and perspectives on mental health and wellness. These resources provide ways for faculty, staff, and students to increase foundational mental health knowledge and literacy.
Three events greatly impacted open education at BCcampus between 2018 and 2023: an investment of $3.26 million in the Province’s open educational resources from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, COVID-19, and the $900,000 Hewlett Foundation Grant to support open education activities in B.C.
The massive provincial investment expanded open educational resources for business and marketing, health and nursing, STEM, and trades curricula. It also led to the creation of free, open textbooks for B.C.’s adult basic education program and 3700 homework questions in the Open Homework Systems Project. BCcampus awarded nearly $200,000 to 12 B.C. post-secondary institutions for 19 projects funded by three grants. We invested an additional $50,000 to support grantees with the H5P Kitchen website and community-support sites for H5P grantees, six open H5P support webinars, and technical consultation services for WeBWorK grantees.
In March 2020, when post-secondary institutions around the world sent students home, teachers were forced to teach online. We announced the Open Courses Project in June of that year to provide them with resources like student activities, lecture slides, quizzes, assignments, and videos. By September 2020, we reached a new milestone of $20 million in student savings since the inception of the B.C. Open Textbook Project in 2012. We awarded grants for instructors, teaching and learning centres, libraries, articulation committees, and others in the post-secondary sector from 2020 to 2022 to produce fully developed and openly licensed courses that address the learning needs of high-priority, transferable subjects.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Grant BCcampus received in 2021 gave us the ability to keep providing open education materials and support to B.C. post-secondary institutions. We focused the funding on open courseware solutions; improving access to open educational resources for post-secondary institutions in Northern B.C.; creating, adapting, and adopting inclusive, diverse, culturally relevant open educational resource content and pedagogical practices; and improving access to vocational trades through open educational resources and practices.
Adapting to COVID-19
In partnership with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, we offered a series of webinars during the pandemic to support B.C. post-secondary students, staff, and faculty with mental health and wellness and the pivot to online learning. Topics included allyship, international student onboarding and support, mental wellness, dealing with burnout, tips and tricks for online learning, cultivating community, and much more. This work was done in collaboration with students, staff, and faculty across the B.C. post-secondary system.
Open Education Challenge Series
In 2021 we hosted an open education challenge series for educators interested in learning more about open educational practices. Over the course of five days, learners were introduced to an open textbook collection, Creative Commons licenses, attributions, open pedagogy, and tools like SPLOTs and Hypothes.is. Our Open Education Challenge Series website received nearly 800 visitors over the course of the week, with 53 participants in eight countries around the world, and we received an Open Education Global Open Practices Award in Open Pedagogy for the event.
“Lunchable Learning” was a weekly web radio show that provided post-secondary educators with professional learning in a fun format that explored and modelled digital literacy and a curious, experimental mindset. Launched during the height of the pandemic, “Lunchable Learning” was an example of the ongoing innovation in learning at BCcampus. In 2022 we piloted the BCcampus Mixtape podcast, curated from previous “Lunchable Learning” episodes, webinars, videos, podcasts and more.
The Gift We Give One Another: A Collection of Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate Resources
We collaborated with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills and racialized and Indigenous experts to develop a collection of anti-racism and anti-hate resources for B.C. public post-secondary institutions. These include an environmental scan of existing resources, a calls to action workbook, and a webinar called The Empty Chair, all of which seek to bridge the gap between equitable intentions and equitable actions in the sector.
BCcampus launched two new resources to help build foundational skills in peer support in 2021–2022 for student mental health and wellness in B.C. The Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum and the Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum: Facilitator’s Guide for Use with Students comprised the Province’s first-ever peer-support training curriculum developed for and by the public post-secondary sector.
Provincial Peer Training Curriculum
BCcampus and the Ministry of Health and Addictions launched a free online curriculum called Where We Are At for peer-support workers in B.C. It was a first-of-its-kind, provincially approved program that was guided and evaluated by existing peer-support organizations and people with lived experience in the province. The training includes 16 free modules on topics such as mental health, understanding boundaries, connection and communications, supporting someone who uses substances, and more.
Micro-credentials are flexible, bite-size pieces of learning that are competency-based. The BCcampus micro-credentials project supports post-secondary institutions to meet the needs of B.C. residents who need to retrain to meet an industry skills gap or want to be recognized for skills they already have and learners who have barriers to access. Together with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, we are supporting the Stronger BC: Future Ready Action Plan by building the capacity to design, develop, and implement micro-credentials in B.C. post-secondary institutions. In summer 2023 we will release the BCcampus Micro-credential Toolkit for B.C., which is based on eCampus Ontario’s Micro-credential Toolkit and written for the B.C. context.
In February 2023 we hosted Micro-Credentials: Competency at the Core, an event co-designed with B.C. post-secondary staff and faculty that focused on competency-based learning and micro-credentials and are planning to have more webinars on this topic in the fall.
Universal Design for Learning Explorer Challenge
We held a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Explorer Challenge in October 2022 to meet the needs of B.C. post-secondary educators for professional development in this area. The UDL framework exists to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. More than 80 educators registered for the five-week series, with more than 2400 visits to the UDL Explorer Challenge website.
Digital Literacy Project
In collaboration with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills and to align with its B.C. Post-Secondary Digital Learning Strategy, we curated a digital literacy open educational resource repository in 2022 — a collection of course and professional development resources designed to help B.C. post-secondary instructors easily integrate digital literacy materials into existing courses. These resources were reviewed and curated by a group of evaluators from across the province.
Health Care Assistant, Practical Nursing, and Access to Practical Nursing Curriculum Guide Reviews
BCcampus is project managing a review of the Health Care Assistant, Practical Nursing, and Access to Practical Nursing curriculum guides under the direction of the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. These reviews take place every five years to ensure curricula align with the standards of practice and competencies as determined by the British Columbia College of Nurses & Midwives and the B.C. Health Care Assistants Core Competency Profile. The updated curriculum guides and supplemental materials will be published with Pressbooks and available in the B.C. Open Collection.
BC Open Education Librarians Turns 10!
Inspired by the growing open education movement in B.C., the BC Open Education Librarians (BCOEL) is a grassroots group of academic librarians who first came together as a community of practice in 2013. BCcampus is proud to support the BCOEL in its efforts to help B.C. librarians learn about open education practices, promote equitable access to resources, and reduce the financial burden on students through the province-wide adoption of open resources.
Technology Users Group Turns 30!
The Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) is a diverse community of B.C. post-secondary educators focused on how learning and teaching can be enhanced through technology. The ETUG has been in existence since 1994 and today offers annual face-to-face workshops in spring and fall, online discussions and events, institutional reports, and a monthly community update called The ETUG News. BCcampus is pleased to sponsor and support the ETUG to promote events and activities throughout the province.
Early Years Professional Development
The Canada-British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement is funding professional learning opportunities for high-quality, accessible, in-person and online development for early childhood educators in B.C. on the topics of Indigenous cultural competencies, child care, early childhood educator practice, and early years Deaf and hard of hearing children and families. Led by the Ministry of Education and Child Care, we are delivering a call for proposals process, including the evaluation of proposals and disbursement of funds to successful applicants.
Intersectional Sexualized Violence Resources
In partnership with Women and Gender Equality Canada and the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, BCcampus is working with community members to develop new training resources and facilitation guides that address technology-facilitated sexualized violence and the impacts of sexualized violence on Indigenous, international, and graduate students. Together, these resources will help post-secondary institutions support student populations, address systemic barriers, and develop a comprehensive response to sexualized violence and technology-facilitated sexualized violence through an intersectional approach.
“It’s exciting to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of BCcampus! This occasion serves as a tribute to the collective accomplishments and dedication of educational institutions, educators, learners, and BCcampus in driving forward the field of post-secondary education. It shines a spotlight on the remarkable progress made through collaborative efforts, emphasizing the commitment to enhancing teaching and learning experiences and expanding accessible and affordable educational opportunities. As we look to toward the next 20 years, we will strive to be a catalyst for collaboration, openness, and transparency, enabling a culture of continuous improvement and equitable access to education for all.”Amanda Coolidge, executive director at BCcampus
The next 5 years
As we move into our twenty-first year, we will continue to evolve and cultivate ideas to support the future of teaching and learning and open education in B.C.
To stay connected to stay informed, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter, and join an upcoming event. We are incredibly proud of the work we do and excited for the next 20 years!
Here are a few wonderful things our community has said about us over the years.