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[T.E.L.L. May Summary] Growing an Open Educator Community

This post contributed by Emily Schudel, University of Victoria and member of SCETUG.




Brian Lamb, Director of Innovation Open Learning, Thompson Rivers University, and Will Engle, a teaching and learning strategist at UBC, were the presenters for our May T.E.L.L. session.  For this session, Brian and Will described some of the open initiatives going on at their own institutions, some of the challenges their ins[titutions face with developing and maintaining open initiatives, and then discussed some ongoing strategies for building capacity for open initiatives across BC.
The goal of this project moving towards open education is to support and build on the open education community of practice in BC, as it exists through organizations like BCcampus and ETUG, for example. Brian and Will first talked about various open initiatives at their campuses (TRU and UBC) and then about some of the challenges facing these two institutions.  They concluded with some of what they see as possible strategies for moving forward, and then opened the door to future discussions by contacting them (@brlamb or @infology) directly and meeting up at the upcoming ETUG Spring Workshop at SFU, Burnaby June 6th and 7th.

TRU initiatives include:

  • Developing an open course on Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) in WordPress
  • A MOOC on Art of Reconciliation (or what Brian prefers calling a “COOL” – collaborative open online learning (http://reworksinprogress.ca/)
  • Using WordPress and PressBooks to publish conference proceedings

Some of the challenges include:

  • TRU has not used WordPress very much up until now
  • Capacity for supporting these initiatives – finding people with time to develop and support them because they are stepping out of the usual institutional supports

UBC initiatives include:

  • Open.ubc.ca – a catalogue of open projects going on, as well as a hub for community discussion
  • Artsone-digital.arts.ubc.ca – experimenting with live streaming and twitter interaction and blog aggregation
  • Blogs.ubc.ca/videogamelaw – combining videos and social media with students having access to post their own take on topics
  • Wiki.ubc.ca/Course: FNH200 – Food Nutrition and Health on a wiki.  Here the idea was to give students a chance to present their work to the world, and to give them more opportunities to incorporate media, links, etc. into their presentations
  • Math exam resources – a student generated resources. This was started by Grad students, and now also has undergrads participating. (http://wiki.ubc.ca/Science:Math_Exam_Resources)
  • Open Access Journal Hosting at UBBC library (ojs.library.ubc.ca)
  • Coursera courses (www.coursera.org/ubc)
  • “MOOCS and More” – an open community for talking about MOOCS (mooc.open.ubc.ca)
  • The Flexible Learning initiative (flexible.learning.ubc.ca) – a brand new project “not necessarily open, but opens doors to it”

Some of the challenges include:

  • When something is created at UBC, how do you open it to more institutions? (authentication issues, etc.)
  • Resources and capacity

So, some of the common issues/challenges brought out in the discussion were around capacity (who will support it?) and collaboration (how do you enable these initiatives in a larger way?)  Is there a way to share capacity and expertise across the province?

What is possible now:

  • Sharing tools – TRU has an agreement to use the UBC Wiki, and BCcampus has the shared services initiative
  • Less official collaboration may be possible through using resources already existing (Hippie Hosting Collective, Domain of One’s Own, Commons-in-a-Box, MOOC in a Box). Note: See wiki presentation for complete list of links.

Questions remain around how and where do we host and install tools?  How do we honour the contributions of people who give their services for free?
Strategies discussed to move forward:

  • Enhance the collaboration facilitated by BCcampus and ETUG
  • Create a network that catalogues and resources and makes it easy for people to post and add their own resources
  • Find ways to pool out time, knowledge and resources into a BC-wide CO-OP (e.g. http://bc.libraries.coop/)
  • Share our resources to deepen collaboration
  • Create more opportunities to learn what else is out there (ideas, challenges, solutions)

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