Monday, April 29, 2019

Cascadia Open Education Summit

I attended the Cascadia Open Education Summit in Vancouver, BC on April 17-18.  For more information about the conference, you may wish to refer to

All notes included below are my own from the presentations that I attended.  Wherever possible credit to the presenter is given in the text of the post.


Strategies for Scaling and Sustaining OER Initiatives
Building Awareness and Enthusiasm
Using Lumen’s Playbook for getting folks excited about OER found at:  

Elevator pitch - can you explain to your grandmother what you do for a living?  If she understands, than you have a successful pitch.  Your pitch should be different depending on your audience, i.e.: students, faculty, administration

Ask the royalty question - are you writing the textbook for the royalties or are is your goal in writing a textbook to help students.  Making that textbook open will have the greatest impact on students
“Open is for faculty and free is for students”

Who is using OER? survey the bookstore, mine the syllabi, ask department administration, library (copyright office may collect that data), students

Measure impact to build enthusiasm - build enthusiasm to measure impact

Track long term - make sure to collect statistics from the beginning and more stats than you think that you will need.

Change conversation from money to impact

Calls to Action:
  • Contact new faculty - ask how I can help solve your problems and get you some money?
  • Reporting back - use a framework for consistency and ease of measure
  • 5 steps for course curation - consider what you are trying to accomplish, take a step back
  • Include students in panel - but do not prep them on what to say, feed them first, help them relax because they may be very nervous, share only what they are comfortable with, don’t share professors names if it is a bad experience
  • Talk to your student union

Student Success

What We Learned: Faculty Motivation, Perceptions, Usage and Institutional Support of OER Correlated with Student Success Data
Presented by: Jaquelyn Ray and Jennifer Lantrip

Create a culture of OER in all areas of the campus.  Ask yourself is it in our marketing materials, are we talking it up to students and faculty any chance that we can?

Pathway to equity and to the community.  OER promotes inclusive, active and connected classrooms, while reducing the consumer/commodity nature of traditional teaching.  Open pedagogy is participant based learning.

Faculty who received assistance (library, Instructional Designers, Faculty Trainers, Teaching and Learning departments, etc.) were the most likely to change their teaching.

Key Takeaway: 
  • Students recognized that they wanted to be more information literate because their instructor was modeling this behaviour (i.e.: shared their sources, crediting the materials correctly).  
  • Students felt that their instructor cared about them, because they were concerned about the cost of textbooks, etc.

Collaborative Approaches to Open Learning Resources Development
Presented by Lin Brander and Rosario Passos

Many partners from different departments, joined in a lunch meeting to discuss key questions and develop an online resource that would be open.  

Engage the targeted community so that those individuals would drive the process, and help create the curriculum directions.  The work was based on the foundation of Kory Wilson’s work, and the fact that her content has a CC license.

Copyright and IA issues - what does it mean to be open, and can you legally make the content open?

You also need to consider using open tools.  If the tool is not open (i.e.: PDF) then it doesn’t support the parametres of open.

Very rewarding to create an open resource that can be built on and is a part of a larger open project (Kory Wilson’s work) that can be found here:

Used their grant to fund external voices who worked on the project.

#AdultEd #ZedCred

#ZedCredAhead! No Tuition & No Textbook Costs - the BC Basic Adult Education Zed Cred 
Presenters: Krista Lambert, Andrew Candela, and Mary Shier

The ABE is for adult learners who are upgrading students with the goal of completing high school or enrolling in a vocational or academic program.  There is a tuition-free policy for domestic students attending this program in BC.  They received additional funding to ensure that the textbooks would be also free for students.  Initially the textbook funds concentrated on the required courses for graduation (English, Math and 3 electives).

Program effected by the constant crisis of changing governments and their support/non-support of these programs and their intermittent failure to question/consider the impact that their decisions have on the educators and students in these programs.

Flexible methods of teaching and working with students as programs work around life and employment to ensure student success.  Courses are self-paced and there is a bi-monthly intake of students.

OER can mean that instructors are not compiling and monitoring textbooks on their own.  Mary Shier mentioned that her and her colleague collected textbooks (multiple titles, used textbooks), so that students can borrow from directly from the instructors.

If we offer online textbooks, we cannot forget that not all students will be able to use technology in the same way and they might not have access to equipment or Internet access in the same way + accommodations (speech readers for example) + materials may need to be translated.  Print copies or alternatives still need to be available for some students.

K12 could be using these materials - huge untapped market of potential users of OER.

Accessible and Equitable

Dr. Karen Cangialosi
Keynote speaker in the afternoon

Make the world right through positive transformations.  Questioned if OER be that transition for education.  OER is about students and about learning. 

She will not apologize for calling out publishers (earlier comment).  Educators need to continually criticize the publishers who charge students for textbooks way above the rate of inflation. - what scientists are doing, compiles their methods and notebooks, making science open
OERs are digital, multimedia, downloadable, adaptable, current, public, openly licensed, free

Open pedagogy focuses on the process, not the product.  Students can do most of their learning in that process - and they can also be the creators of the content.  If it is not perfect, than next semester’s group can fix it!  She emphasized community and collaboration over the content and the connection to the wider public.  Learner contribute to the knowledge of the field, and are not just consumers of knowledge.  This provides students with agency, courses are learner driven, and the materials are available when and where they want to learn the content.  The open movement is about access, as well as sharing, creation, participation.  None of this is possible however if you do not have access to food, childcare, or transportation.  

  • Student create content in open pedagogy, but they can also be the editors on the projects. 
  • When students can see what others are creating, the element of competition enters in.  They want to do a good job in front of their peers.  From picking topics for essays, to completed assignments.  Peer review
  • Audience can go beyond the instructor, students can connect directly with the public
  • Being out there, sharing information with the public, can impact thought.  The wider audience can be a scary thing
  • - web annotation for community collaboration of a peer-reviewed article
  • Wikipedia Edits, etc. When you correct, edit and update content, you add value for the next person that reads it
  • Students not just going on the web, but constructing it
  • Social media is a tool like anything else, you need to keep practising.  A hammer can be used to break a windshield, but it can also be used to build a house.  Broadens the community for students, adding perspectives from across the world

Dr. Cangialosi recommends the book 'Why They Can’t Write' by John Warner which looks at the issue of education when we put greater value on achievement than on learning.

Final Thoughts: 
  • Accessible and equitable? Open to whom?
  • Keep the real life circumstances of our students at the forefront of your thoughts, take steps to help remedy further financial burdens
  • Provide transformational not just transactional experiences for our students
  • Students become agents of social agents

“Optimism is a discipline, not an emotion” 
Kate Bowles

Educational Mandate: the How and the What

Scaling up OER: Creating a Sustainable Program at a Polytechnic Institution
Jessica Norman

At SAIT, OER is part of the education plan in the institutional mandate, specifically on pg. 17.  When the policy supports the actual work, the basic questions of how that work is actually going to happen, is provided by the specific information within the documentation.  Individuals have a clear directive

At SAIT, as at other polytechnics across the country, the IP is owned by the institution.  When this occurs, the issues around ownership are not the same as they are at a university.  When the institution states that they support OER in policy and practice, you can go from saying no, to saying yes!

Once policy in place, a strategic plan helps to provide the larger framework, answers ‘how’ this happens.  We need to remember however, that open does not equal free and the documentation needs to assign $$ to this work in order to maintain sustainability for this project (time to create resource, technology required, maintenance, etc.).  Infrastructure is required for things like an institutional repository.

Lessons Learned:
  • Start with high enrollment courses
  • Start with schools with existing OERs
  • Start an advisory committee, include students
  • Add OER language to things that folks are already doing
  • Roadshows and listening tours
  • Start tracking statistics immediately, and collect more than you think you will need