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[Institutional Update] British Columbia Institute of Technology

A lot of consultation has happened over the last year at BCIT and the results show a renewed commitment to supporting the learning experience with authentic activities supported by technologies that engage.

We started with thinking about our educational model, our Learning and Teaching Framework and the future, in order to create our Educational Plan. Trying to consult with over 2000 people in any meaningful way is daunting. So we used a nifty technology to help us – Rossland, B.C.-based ThoughtExchange (https://www.thoughtexchange.com/)

Over 400 people were able to share over almost 800 ideas, and through ratings, respond to each other’s ideas. After further analysis, the result is our plan for 2019 to 2021. Key features include:

  • Interdisciplinary initiatives including living labs, experiential and work-integrated learning
  • Centres of competence including one around an institutional theme of sustainability
  • Deepen our polytechnic services

We then turned to the strategic plan for the institute as a whole. Again, we used ThoughtExchange which allowed us to get a load more ideas and input. What is useful with ThoughtExchange is the ability to rate ideas so that, eventually, themes and ideas emerge that resonate with everyone overall. After a further process of consultation with industry and indigenous partners, we now have a draft that looks ahead from now to 2022. Key features include:

  • Reimagining flexible studies and extend offerings and credential models to facilitate reskilling and improve learner access
  • Lead in interdisciplinary and integrative learning methodologies that ensure job readiness and career mobility
  • Cultivate learning environments and communities through technologies and sustainable campus development

BCIT’s Open Education Working Group has also had a terrific year. BCIT is in its fourth year of providing $5,000 open education grants. These grants fund the development of Open Education Resources or give faculty time to redesign courses to incorporate Open Educational practices and open course materials. Some of the grants are joint-funded by BCcampus and BCIT, and some are funded exclusively by BCIT.

Projects funded by this year’s grants include:

  • Sim Lab exercises (simulator labs): bring ship to operational speed and compare NOx emissions developed by the Main Engine at various RPMs and operational conditions; and, use Indicator cards to accurately predict the cause of deviation in the operational parameters of the main engine and suggest appropriate corrective action, Sanjeev Sarwal
  • Review, revise and remix course on basic electricity, Chad Flinn
  • Develop two user manuals detailing the procedures of capturing and processing multi-spectral images using the Parrot Sequoia and MicaSense RedEdge-M sensors mounted on an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), with student involvement, Eric Saczuk
  • Adapt OpenStax Astronomy textbook, enhance it with auxiliary resources, James Brewer

Here in the Learning and Teaching Centre, much of our efforts are working with our core educational technologies, as they are now part of everyday instructor practices. We are also strengthening our services by being able to support do-it-yourselfers to full-scale project teams. We are experimenting further with virtual simulation technologies as well as putting resources behind Unmanned Aircraft System technologies. And we are looking ahead to how we can facilitate leveraging BCIT’s competency-based credentials to create new and accessible learning opportunities.

(Submitted by Bonnie Johnston)