BCcampus Launches an Open Education Support Community

Post by Emily Schudel, Camosun College

We are excited to announce the creation of a new open education network: The B.C. Open Education Community (BCOEC).

BCcampus invited supporters of open education at post-secondary institutions in B.C. and the Yukon to a virtual conversation about their practice and challenges. The purpose was to bring people together and discuss a variety of topics including methods for supporting open education initiatives at institutions, common challenges, and strategies for peer support.

Thirty-five people from across the sector attended the first meeting from both institutions new to open education and institutions with open education support areas. Lauri Aesoph from BCcampus and Amanda Grey, chair of the British Columbia Open Education Librarians steering committee, discussed how they support open education across the province. There was a lively conversation about who we are, how we support open education at our institutions, the challenges we are facing (especially in institutions without official open education support,) and what others in the province are doing.

Some of the key questions included:

  • What do partnerships look like at different institutions, about supporting open education (e.g., between libraries and teaching and learning centres)?
  • How do people find out what open education work is being done at their institutions, across B.C., and across Canada?
  • How can we share what we do, what we create, what our faculty are creating, and what is being created across Canada?
  • How can we build meaningful advocacy for open education at institutions – from faculty, students, and from leadership?
  • How do we work with Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge in the realm of open education?
  • What are our concerns about generative artificial intelligence and open education (for example, using GenAI to create OER)?

After the conversation, (click here for meeting notes) the group decided to continue this open education support community to check in with each other and discuss arising issues. Details of the open education community meetings include:

  • BCcampus will host BCOEC meetings on Zoom.
  • Meetings have been scheduled on the third Wednesday of the month from April-June 2024 from 2-3 p.m. and then from September-December 2024. (The exception is May which will take place on the third Thursday.)
  • Anyone interested in joining can register using this link
  • Reminder emails containing a link to the meeting will be sent to registrants one hour before each event.
  • Once someone is registered, they will have access to all scheduled meetings if they wish to attend.
  • A focus topic will be sent to all registrants in advance of the April meeting.

On a personal note, I see this as a community and I envision having different hosts lead meeting discussions, perhaps on topics related to issues and priorities at their own institutions. For now, I am happy to host, but we could plan for alternating hosts and topics starting in September. We can discuss this at our April meeting.

I encourage you to visit the Mattermost site we have set up on the Open EdTech Collaborative (OpenETC) site where we can have asynchronous discussions and share resources. If you are interested in joining, please contact me (schudele@camosun.ca). You can also join the BC Open Education listserv with a wider reach for sharing information, asking questions, and finding OERs on specific topics.