OER Pilot at UCalgary

We threw the switch this morning, launching the OER pilot program. It’s a small-scale initiative, intended to support the integration of open textbooks into 10 courses within the 2017/2018 academic year. There are two branches – faculty advocacy, and project implementation. The implementation is being let by my team at the Taylor Institute, working with […]

We threw the switch this morning, launching the OER pilot program. It’s a small-scale initiative, intended to support the integration of open textbooks into 10 courses within the 2017/2018 academic year. There are two branches – faculty advocacy, and project implementation. The implementation is being let by my team at the Taylor Institute, working with the University of Calgary’s OER Faculty Advocate and his team. We’ll be hiring a graduate student to act as a research assistant for the program, who will help coordinate the various projects – hopefully 10 concurrent projects with instructors working with up to 20 undergraduate students to identify good candidate resources for use in a course, which will be reviewed by a graduate student (and the instructor) before being integrated into the course. The pilot has been designed to give full autonomy to the instructors – they have to opt into the program, and they will be working directly with the students as much as they’d like to discover and review potential OER and open textbook candidates. More info about how the program will run is available on the website, as well as the application form for instructors to sign up to participate. This first pilot program is entirely focused on adopting existing open textbooks – ideally, as a “simple” replacement of commercial resources within a course. We may be exploring adopting and authoring in subsequent stages of the program, but to start we need to keep things simple. I’ll post info to the open.ucalgary.ca website once we’ve got the 10 projects selected, with updates as the open textbooks are integrated into the courses.

open.ucalgary.ca

One of the things I had on my 1-year plan for The New Job™ was development of an “Open UCalgary” website, akin to the awesome work done by others1. At the last Teaching & Learning Committee meeting, we were sketching out a revised draft of a memo to faculty members, intended to showcase strategies to […]

One of the things I had on my 1-year plan for The New Job™ was development of an “Open UCalgary” website, akin to the awesome work done by others1. At the last Teaching & Learning Committee meeting, we were sketching out a revised draft of a memo to faculty members, intended to showcase strategies to reduce costs to students. One of the items was about open education resources and the like, so I floated the idea of the website2. And, just like that, boom. Green light for the website. Which meant I had to throw something together pretty darned quickly, to be online in time for the memo to be finalized and sent out.

So. The early version of Open UCalgary is now online.

Screen Shot 2014 02 05 at 9 41 30 PM

It’s super basic at the moment, to serve as a starting point to refer folks to resources and projects available both on-campus and elsewhere. I’ll be building the website up over the next few months, and will be working to showcase the great stuff that’s going on at the UofC, as well as pulling in the inspiring and immediately applicable stuff that’s being done elsewhere.

And, this is just the first of many things I’ll be working on from my 1-year plan. Most of them involve blatantly ripping off the awesome stuff being done by folks I respect and admire3. It’s going to be a fun year!

  1. frankly, it was either that, or just refer directly to the URLs in footnote 1
  2. and also Jim Groom

George Siemens’ open letter to Canadian universities

From George’s great open letter: I propose that the top 10 Canadian universities convene a meeting to plan a MOOC response that helps us to build our competence in this space. We already have universities devoted to online learning such as Athabasca University (disclaimer: that’s where I hang out) and Thompson Rivers. Partner with those […]

From George’s great open letter:

I propose that the top 10 Canadian universities convene a meeting to plan a MOOC response that helps us to build our competence in this space. We already have universities devoted to online learning such as Athabasca University (disclaimer: that’s where I hang out) and Thompson Rivers. Partner with those systems as design and delivery partners as they have developed the technical infrastructure and pedagogical expertise for online learning. Even a small allocation of $5-10 million by assembled universities would produce a significant impact and increase the profile of Canadian higher education.

We’ve been laggards for too long, acquiescing international students to more visionary countries (such as Australia). Now is a great time to plant the Canadian flag in the emerging education landscape. All we need is a bit of vision and a willingness to experiment.

George Siemens – Open Letter to Canadian Universities

I agree. This stuff is important, and we must work together on this. The technology is going to be, by far, the easiest part of it. The institutional cultures need to be adjusted, to allow and encourage collaboration at this level. It’s not a technology project (where collaboration often occurs already), it’s a curriculum and teaching project. That’s where collaboration gets sticky. Perhaps if it’s crafted as a partial response to the Access Copyright protection racket fiasco…