Editor's note: The deadline has been extended to Aug. 16.
University can be an expensive time for students, between tuition, living costs and supporting course materials. Textbooks in particular can come at a significant expense, something the University of Calgary is working to help address through a new collaborative pilot project led out of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. A cross-functional group including students, faculty active in OER development, educational developers, librarians and bookstore staff have identified a need to develop an integrated institutional network for sharing, resourcing and advocating for Open Educational Resources (OER).
The Open Educational Resources (OER) Pilot Project is working to provide institutional infrastructure that will lead to more professors adopting or adapting OERs for their own courses, to create the best possible learning resources for students at a low cost. The Hewlett Foundation, a leader in the area, defines OERs as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property licence that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”
The OER Pilot allows faculty members to submit a proposal for their course; those accepted will have two undergraduate student researchers to match two to three online resources with course- and lesson-based learning outcomes. A selected graduate student will then peer-review and recommend the best resource for the course.
OERs save money, share latest information for students
Khan Rubayet Rahaman, PhD candidate in geomatics engineering, has been working as a member of the advocacy team. “OERs are important to encourage accessibility of research materials to other faculty and researchers. While many professors are in the process of adopting OERs, a formal platform like this could help people better understand the importance of these resources for sharing the latest information available,” he says.
Tatum Priyambada Mitra is a second year master’s student in sport medicine and sport injury epidemiology and has been the Graduate Students’ Association representative for the OER project. “Not only would OERs save students money, but unlike textbooks, they have the ability to be updated more regularly and evolve as science, policy, and practices change. This will result in students being provided more accurate, up-to-date knowledge,” she says.
“We may not be the first university to consider OER as resources, but we can build on the work already out there. Many professors within the University of Calgary are currently using and developing OERs, we just may not be aware of it."
The pilot will be accepting proposals until Aug. 16, with a total of 10 selected to proceed. In September, the undergraduate researchers and graduate peer reviewers will be selected, with course designs completed in December. The courses will launch in the Winter 2018 term. Pilot projects will be showcased in March 2018 during Open Education Week at the University of Calgary.
Apply before Aug. 16, 2017 for the OER Pilot Project. Learn more about OERs at the University of Calgary.