We are proud to honour Elizabeth Childs with this month’s BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education for her dedication to zero-textbook-cost programs.
Nominated by George Veletsianos, professor, Education and Technology at Royal Roads University, Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology, and Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Flexible Learning
Elizabeth Childs supported faculty and students in converting the Royal Roads University Master of Arts in Learning and Technology to a zero-textbook-cost (ZTC) program. While transitioning something like a certificate program to be ZTC is no small feat, supporting the conversion of a master’s degree program is an even larger task, as it includes not only coursework but also theses and consulting pathways. This and three other ZTC programs in the School of Education and Technology were announced in 2019, but Elizabeth’s support has been unwavering and ongoing for much longer.
We’re pleased to recognize Elizabeth for her advocacy for open educational resources (OER) and her support in transitioning the learning and technology degrees and certificates at Royal Roads University, including the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology, to ZTC programs. A ZTC program is “a set of courses in a specific program area that allows a student to earn a credential … with zero textbook costs by way of using open educational resources and/or free library materials.”
In 2019 Royal Roads announced that four graduate programs in the School of Education and Technology were ZTC programs: the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology, the graduate diploma in Learning and Technology, the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Management, and the graduate diploma in Educational Leadership and Management. This achievement was supported by Elizabeth and her colleague George Veletsianos, professor of Education and Technology at Royal Roads and Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology.
In the field of educational technology, B.C. now has an example of a master’s degree that is completely textbook-free and mostly OER-based. For the wider area of open education, this means ZTC isn’t solely for certificates and other short-term programs.
Thanks to Elizabeth championing and supporting the integration of OER in every course of the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology program, students can complete their degree without incurring textbook costs. Putting this into practice has influenced others at Royal Roads, too. The degrees and certificates in climate action leadership have begun to transition to a ZTC format, and the rest of the programs in the School of Education and Technology have also started their transition. Students at Royal Roads will save hundreds of dollars a year thanks to these initiatives.
Since 2017 Elizabeth has presented at several conferences, including the Open Education Conference, OE Global, and the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, on the topics of openness, open pedagogy, and student and faculty experiences of learning together in an open program. Elizabeth co-authored a chapter in Open(ing) Education: Theory and Practice on factors that foster a culture of openness at school, faculty, and university levels and the tensions and challenges of developing a culture of openness. This chapter touches on some of her experiences with the Master of Arts in Learning and Technology program. Recently Elizabeth was part of a research team that investigated the experience of applying an institutional open educational practices self-assessment tool in post-secondary settings.
- “Fostering Openness within a Higher Education Institution: Tensions, Opportunities and a Work in Progress” by Elizabeth Childs, Jo Axe, George Veletsianos, and Keith Webster, in Open(ing) Education: Theory and Practice
- “How Are We Doing with Open Education Practice Initiatives? Applying an Institutional Self-Assessment Tool in Five Higher Education Institutions” by Tannis Morgan, Elizabeth Childs, Christina Hendricks, Irwin DeVries, and Rajiv Jhangiani, in The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning
- Institutional Self-Assessment Tool for OEP Initiatives
- “No textbooks? No problem” by Julian Paquette for Royal Roads University
- “Snapshot—Designing for Open Educational Environments: Balancing Access, Equity, and Engagement” by Elizabeth Childs and Jo Axe, in Universal Access Through Inclusive Instructional Design: International Perspectives on UDL