BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education: Claire Yu Yan

Nominated by Donna Langille, community engagement and open education librarian, University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan

Claire Yu Yan’s excellence in open education stems from the way she welcomes others into the open education community through advocacy, mentorship, collaboration, and demonstration of best practices. With an open educational resources (OER) grant from her institution, Claire published the open textbook Introduction to Engineering Thermodynamics in 2022, demonstrating her commitment to making open, accessible, and innovative learning materials for her students. As an OER advocate, she actively promotes OER among the engineering community in various venues and continues to develop valuable resources for her field.

Claire has taught over 6000 engineering students of diverse backgrounds at UBC Okanagan. She wholeheartedly believes every student has the right to education, regardless of their socioeconomic situation. She values open education and is committed to inclusive teaching and equitable learning. When she realized there were limited OER on engineering subjects, Claire started to create her own. In the past six years, she has spent an enormous amount of time packaging her course notes and making them freely available to all students.

In 2020–2021, Claire received a UBC Okanagan Open Educational Resources Grant to create an open textbook. With this funding she developed an open textbook that covers the fundamental topics of classical thermodynamics while embracing Universal Design for Learning principles and Open UBC’s guidelines on accessibility. Each of the book’s six chapters features clear learning outcomes, a logical structure, multimedia illustrations, abundant examples of various difficulty levels, and a concise summary. Claire also created interactive H5P questions for each chapter so students can practice key concepts and self-assess comprehension. This book has now been adopted in APSC 252 Thermodynamics at UBC Okanagan and MANU 261 Thermodynamics at UBC Vancouver.

Claire has spread her passion for OER to her students and colleagues: she has mentored work-study students in the development of open textbooks and provided consultations and support to engineering colleagues on their OER projects.

At present Claire and her colleagues Dr. Casey Keulen and Dr. Amir M. Dehkhoda are collaborating with graduate students Hariharan Umashankar and Ali Doustahadi on an OER project to develop an interactive programming–based problem bank to complement Introduction to Engineering Thermodynamics. Their goal is to create learning materials that seamlessly integrate with the open textbook, enhancing the educational experience for students and promoting widespread use of these resources.

Claire’s involvement with OER goes beyond development. Since 2018 Claire has been an active member of the Canadian Engineering Education Association’s OER Special Interest Group and currently serves as its chair. In 2022 she reviewed the open textbook Basic HVAC in the B.C. Open Collection. Claire is conducting research on OER and fully engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning through presenting at American Society for Engineering Education and Canadian Engineering Education Association conferences and serves on the conference committees. In 2023, for all her achievements, she received the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation at UBC Okanagan.

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