BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education: Anita Chaudhuri and Rishma Chooniedass

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

Headshot of Anita Chaudhuri, who uses she/her pronouns.
Anita Chaudhuri

The BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education is bestowed monthly. This March, the award is jointly given to Anita Chaudhuri, assistant professor of teaching, English, English and Cultural Studies and faculty advisor on academic integrity, and Rishma Chooniedass, assistant professor of teaching, School of Nursing, and advisor to the dean in the Faculty of Health and Social Development on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – both from the University of British Columbia, Okanagan.

Anita Chaudhuri and Rishma Chooniedass are champions of open education at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan (UBCO).  Anita is interested in identity construction of student writers and their communication styles. She is also involved in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) conversations as part of the UBCO EDI Action Network. Rishma strives to advance equity and social justice so every person at the university feels respected and valued within a safe community.

Rishma has brown eyes and straight long dark hair and is smiling. She is wearing a sleeveless white top with a black underlay.
Rishma Chooniedass

Anita and Rishma work alongside student project coordinators on the EDI magazine, RESPECT, a project that exemplifies open educational practices and demonstrates student engagement. RESPECT stands for Representation and Equity in Systemic Practices to Effect Change Today. The UBC President’s Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Final Report [PDF] emphasizes the importance of “creating and curating diverse spaces on both campuses,” and this student-focused e-magazine on equity matters aims to sustain a virtual space to promote discussions on EDI. Many UBC courses are considering bias, power, and privilege and creating discussion and assignments to reflect on these issues. This digital magazine provides a platform where students can reflect on their learning from class and share it with their peers. The project is an open educational resource (OER) that prepares UBC students to not only run a publication, but also share their “perspectives on the inclusiveness of their learning experiences” (UBC Inclusion Action Plan, Goal 4) and build community engagement.

Since it launched in 2022, RESPECT has published four issues. It has two upcoming issues in 2024, including Issue 5: Finding comfort zones: Prioritizing self-care for equity, and Issue 6: Cultural Safety. UBCO students are encouraged to read the RESPECT submission guidelines to see if their works may be suitable for the magazine.

Anita’s other open education accomplishments include editing an OER called Discipline-based Approaches to Academic Integrity. By offering subject-specific perspectives on academic integrity, the collection strives to teach students about academic integrity in an accessible way. This book received money from the UBC Aspire-2040 Learning Transformations (ALT-2040) Fund in the 2022 Open Educational Resources Stream (for more details, see the project page for Disciplinary Approaches to Academic Integrity). A panel discussion titled Leading Conversations on Academic Integrity: OER for Teaching and Learning and hosted by UBCO during Open Education Week 2024 discussed how this OER was developed and in what ways OER can be used to facilitate conversations about academic integrity.


“…what is so impressive to me about RESPECT is that they have created an inclusive platform that allows every person who chooses to engage an opportunity to have their voice heard. For readers, it allows them to either see representation or have them question their own beliefs.”

Logan Tymstra, undergraduate student, UBC Okanagan (Reader)

“The RESPECT Magazine works to draw together individuals of different backgrounds and share the stories that often go untold. In my experience, the most powerful thing the magazine does is share ideas or experiences of the student body, and each issue focuses on different aspects of life.” 

Alyssa Collins, undergraduate student, UBC Okanaga(Reviewer) 

“What makes RESPECT exemplary in OER practice are the profound and multiple ways in which they commit and practice Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). From their foundation, the coordinating team flips traditional power differentials: students are not simply invited to share their voice or improve a resource created by a faculty member or discipline expert in their field. Instead, the RESPECT Magazine team follows a model of shared leadership where students have decision-making power in shaping the mission, vision and sustained practice of this resource, all while having the mentorship and guidance of supportive faculty advisors.”

Dr. Electra Eleftheriadou, educational consultant for inclusion, Centre for Teaching and Learning, UBC Okanagan

RESPECT Magazine, an innovative open educational resource… has successfully carved out a niche in fostering learning through active student voices. The magazine’s commitment to promoting an untraditional approach to education, with a specific emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion, has been very impressive.” 

Dr. Tanya Forneris, interim director, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, UBC Okanagan

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