Achieving excellence

At BCcampus, we learn before we do. Once we’ve completed the research phase of any project, we develop strategies that enable us to plan our outcomes, measure our successes, and report our activities so future educators and researchers can use our experience to inform their decisions.

Educational Electronic Health Record System project

Using open-source software and in collaboration with participating institutions, we are building an electronic health records system made for the classroom. The Educational Electronic Health Record System (EdEHR) project delivers a prototype designed to give students the opportunity to use an EHR system in a class or lab setting, enabling them to quickly learn their medical records and data management responsibilities for their clinical placements. Delivering an open-source prototype makes it possible for other institutions to adapt the tool for their own learning environments.

The EdEHR environmental scan, published in June 2018, contains anecdotal evidence gathered through conversations, meetings with EdEHR special-interest groups, and the author’s experiences. The learning outcomes of the environmental scan revealed three focus areas:

  • Information and knowledge management
  • Professional and regulatory accountability
  • Information and communication technologies

Pilot testing of the EdEHR is scheduled for Summer 2019, when instructors and students from the nursing, pharmaceutical, allied health, and physician disciplines will use and assess the prototype system in classrooms or lab simulations. Moving forward, with information gathered through the pilot project, BCcampus will work with the Steering Committee to develop a sustainability plan to identify service delivery options.

Early Years Professional Development portal project

As we near the end of the three-year pilot for the Early Years Professional Development portal project, the current focus is to evaluate and assess how the learning community is using this resource. We are consolidating data collected over the last three years to inform the transition this year of the EYPD resource to a long-term host and support provider.

Early Childhood Education Standards of Practice and Occupational Competencies project

We have recently been re-engaged to work on a project supporting the Government of B.C.’s Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy. We are currently working with a multi-ministry steering committee and a small group of subject matter experts and writers to complete a new B.C. ECE standards of practice and occupational competencies framework and program-level learning guide. The steering committee is expecting to review the project resources in August 2019.

“The Early Years Professional Development web portal is a fantastic place to visit because it helps me plan ahead a year at a time to see what training is available in my community.”

Crystal Janes

Director of Programs, Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre

 

Appreciating excellence

Recognizing the positive impact being made throughout the province by local leaders within the realm of open education, we regularly select a recipient for an Award for Excellence in Open Education. During the past fiscal, we have named the following as honoured recipients for their work:

B.C. Open Textbook Collection

To ensure we have the right resources to support our commitment to the creation of free, open, and accessible educational resources, we hired an expert for the role of Coordinator of Collection Quality. One of their first projects was to begin a comprehensive audit of the B.C. Open Textbook Collection to ensure the resources are of consistent quality and longevity.

We are reviewing all resources in the collection in order to:

  • Ensure they meet the minimum standards of the collection
  • Check for new editions or updated files
  • Evaluate the open textbook reviews submitted by academic leaders to ensure the quality of the books

In addition, Pressbooks has undergone multiple updates since BCcampus began publishing open textbooks. As such, we are using this audit as an opportunity to update the books in the collection to ensure quality and conformance with Pressbooks features, applying our growing knowledge of open textbook publishing best practices. This includes providing accessibility statements and versioning histories for the entire collection as well as ensuring the books work for students accessing them in digital and print formats.

When we sunset the Pressbooks training webinars in October 2018, we recognized the value these sessions provided local content creators and so implemented a process to help maintain access to this resource. A collection of 34 videos is now available to help users customize their Pressbooks training and improve their ability to provide access to their learning materials.

To ensure our users have the right information for their open textbook projects, we’ve updated our Accessibility Toolkit and all support resources: toolkits, guides, and directories. The revised toolkit includes a new chapter on accessibility statements, as well as assistance with meeting the accessibility requirements for Pressbooks.

The Media Attributions builder is a tool for Pressbooks that we’ve designed to make it easier for textbook authors to provide attribution for images, with attribution statements automatically generated at the end of each chapter.

“I’m really proud of the B.C. Federation of Students for investing substantially in the development of open textbooks. To me, this signals that they believe in what we’re doing – it’s not a response to BCcampus making a request. They recognize the opportunity and value it brings to students throughout the province.”

Amanda Coolidge

Senior Manager, Open Education, BCcampus

External support

Announced in September, a grant from the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS) of $30,000 for the development of open educational resources was presented to BCcampus, demonstrating that the BCFS recognizes the value of the work being completed by BCcampus.

Aran Armutlu, chairperson of the B.C. Federation of Students, said, “students in B.C. are struggling to pay massive upfront costs to access university and college. The current model, where those who can afford to buy their course materials are the ones who succeed, creates a barrier that affects many of our most marginalized communities. OERs remove the barrier of the payto-succeed model, creating equitable access to our classrooms and promoting open pedagogical practices that support student success in an inclusive way. We hope faculty, institutions, and government see this investment as a beacon that students recognize OERs as a solution to the affordability crisis and are willing to support each other proactively. This investment is by students, for students, and will ideally lead to more robust funding.”

Open education advocacy

The Open Education line of service at BCcampus is evolving, growing beyond open textbooks and investigating open education as an ecosystem. In order to create an effective strategy to guide us through informed decisions, Tannis Morgan has joined us as a researcher on the Open Education team. Her previous success with the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) on a variety of open education activities, including the Zed Cred program, clearly demonstrate she is a leader and the right choice to help us understand how open education is evolving and maturing locally and internationally.

In the same vein, in January 2019 we introduced the BCcampus Open Education Information Directory, an online resource that highlights content pertaining to open education in higher education with an emphasis on Canadian information. Content related to the United States, as well as English-speaking countries in the Global North and Global South, is also provided. As information becomes available, it will be added to the directory.

We use a host of tools, including ARIA, WCAG 2.0, and Inclusive Design principles, to determine the level of success in terms of usability and accessibility for our websites. These tools give us a quantifiable assessment we can compare to the standard set and maintained by the W3C.”

Brad Payne

Lead Software Developer, BCcampus

Updating our online presence

To continue improving our ability to deliver valuable resources and information for our system partners in B.C., we engaged an internet architect, graphic designer, and professional writer to help us create the next iteration of BCcampus.ca and open.BCcampus.ca. The new sites include site structure upgrades to improve the user experience and help our audiences quickly find what they are looking for. Through intelligent wireframes, inclusive user personas, and engaging language, we anticipate the new sites will help us continue to connect and resonate with the professional learning community across B.C.

The new BCcampus.ca website went live in November 2018 and the new open.BCcampus.ca website was published in April 2019, with additional user testing planned to ensure the information is accessible, engaging, and productive.

Symposium

The annual Symposium was another success in 2018 and focused on Scholarly Teaching & Learning in Post-Secondary Education. Last October, participants at the SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver shared, discussed, reviewed, and reflected on the work being done in the teaching and learning space, locally and beyond. To bring the event to other parts of the province, the 2019 Symposium is scheduled for October 25, 2019, at Coast Mountain College in Terrace, B.C.

Inclusive design

In February 2019, we hosted a four-part webinar series to highlight accessibility and inclusive design best practices. The first week was hosted by Jess Mitchell of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC), with the remaining workshops led by BCcampus staff.

 

Teaching and Learning Professional Development portal

The Teaching and Learning Professional Development (TLPD) portal was designed through consultation and collaboration with an advisory group established in late fall of 2018. Input was gathered in a survey from stakeholders and the wider B.C. post-secondary community regarding the features and requirements they wanted.

Over 300 respondents provided input to the survey, generating useful insights to the portal planning. An iterative approach to web development was used in the creation of the portal, allowing for incremental improvements over the course of Phase 1, completed in March 2019. The community will be consulted again regarding future development.

As of March 13, 2019, there were 69 events posted by 44 contributors across B.C., and 16 B.C. institutions now use TLPD.

BCcampus Online Book Club

A group of volunteer post-secondary educators expressed interest in connecting with colleagues through an Online Book Club focussed on teaching and learning professional development. The BCcampus Online Book Club, which was free and open to all interested in teaching and learning, met seven times from September through November 2018. A survey was sent to participants to gain insight on the impact of the book club, how well the online format and tools worked, and to incorporate suggestions for future offerings.

Overall, the BCcampus Online Book Club was very well received and plans are underway to share what we have learned and how others can offer their online book clubs to their own post-secondary communities.