Leading the province

Improving the learning ecosystem in British Columbia requires an effective guide: an experienced team of risk-takers and trend-setters, willing to collaborate, facilitate, and innovate to improve student learning locally and globally.

We lead by creating space in the system for all voices – advisory committee members, system partners, stakeholders, educators, administrators, students, and everyone else involved in the post-secondary system of B.C. We are intentional about what we’re doing, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help the post-secondary system of B.C. continue to provide a learning experience that’s valued by students as well as educators.

Collaborative leadership

During this past fiscal, we continued to lead our local learning communities by welcoming all voices co-creating space in the system. Our collaborative approach enabled us to work collectively, sharing authority, decision making, and accountability with our stakeholders and community. Our approach is to bring cross-sector stakeholders together to lead, advise and/or contribute to the creation of all resources coming out of the BCcampus collaborative projects.

The Indigenization Project allowed us to set a positive, productive example for the province in the development of resources that will promote professional learning opportunities that showcase Indigenous perspectives, knowledges, and experiences. Through a very large collaboration with Indigenous and ally educators, we gathered and developed open learning resources that will help B.C. post-secondary institutions build respectful and relevant relationships.

The Educational Electronic Health Record System (EdEHR) project will be the first non-proprietary tool in Canada for use in the classroom, making it possible for students to develop critical thinking skills while gaining practical experience in the use of electronic records.

Open as default

While the B.C. Open Textbook Collection is an important part of open education at BCcampus, our focus is on the entire open ecosystem. We believe that education must be available to everyone, which means supporting the creation of free, open, and accessible educational resources. We are actively committed to increasing the accessibility and usability of the textbooks we produce while creating opportunities for the development of additional resources.

In December 2018, the B.C. Open Textbook Collection surpassed $10 million in student savings since implementation. Given that this number was $1.9 – 2.5 million in 2016, we are exceptionally proud of our progress here.

We continue to contribute to open source projects, such as Pressbooks, through bug reports and development work. The Media Attributions builder and Glossary tool were adopted by Pressbooks and are now available for contributors publishing open textbooks around the world.

“Every eligible applicant for a LAP-E grant in 2018 was approved due to a concerted effort to eliminate the financial burden of professional development.”

Mary Burgess

Executive Director, BCcampus

“The faculty professional development review gave us an opportunity to work directly with an institution, learning about their practice and experiences with teaching and learning. We are eager to explore opportunities to engage with faculty, leaders, support teams, admin – everyone involved in the teaching and learning ecosystem of B.C. – so we can better understand how to help them.”

Tracy Roberts

Senior Manager, Learning + Teaching, BCcampus

Leading access

We are regularly testing, piloting, and evaluating new technologies with and for our system partners, with the goal of enabling effective learning activities. To this end, we have continued to offer a variety of creative solutions:

  • 2018 saw the development of the Learning Access Program for Educators (LAP-E): a program designed to provide financial support to instructors or teaching faculty to help them attend BCcampus events
  • The 12 apps of Christmas provides students, educators, and educational support staff with hands-on experience through a short activity with specific apps used for educational purposes
  • Four EdTech demos were offered in 2018, with a total of 62 participants
  • We were invited by several post-secondary institutions to host Liberating Structures workshops, where we guided their educators to become better convenors, collaborators, and facilitators
  • Recognized by our system partners as a leader in professional development, we were invited to help assess their effectiveness in the area of faculty professional development and offer new strategies for better outcomes. We conducted an external review of their development program through surveys and interviews, with our findings shared through a comprehensive final report.

Facilitating conversations

To improve the situation for students transitioning from K-12 into post-secondary education, we worked with the British Columbia Teaching & Learning Council (BCTLC) to offer funding to make the conversations possible while supporting our system partners. Three institutions were provided funds for their collaborative discussion with local school districts:

  • The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and Dr. Maureen Wideman, Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at UFV, hosted the Spotlight on Learning discussion
  • At the Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD), Dr. Cissie Fu and Heather Fitzgerald opted for an unconference about Learning to unlearn: core competency development among and across primary, secondary, and post-secondary educators in B.C. through the arts
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) with Dr. Nancy Norman and Dr. David Burns hosted a collaborative event: Building Connections Through the New K-12 Graduation Portfolio: Student Capstone Experiences

“This was one of the very best conferences that I’ve attended. The tone was warm and encouraging and immensely collegial. Every detail was considered. The plenaries were inspiring and deeply thoughtful.”

FoL18 attendee

Enabling capabilities

The Festival of Learning, our largest biennial event, was held in May and brought more than 400 people together over the three-day experience. This year’s event gave us the opportunity to explore new ways to provide broader access, with complimentary childcare, all-gender washrooms, LAP-E funding, a code of conduct, and pronoun ribbons. Plans are in place for Festival of Learning 2020, scheduled for May 11–13, 2020 at the Pinnacle Hotel in downtown Vancouver. Watch for announcements and updates about #FoL2020.

We look forward to joining our regional colleagues at the 2019 Cascadia Open Education Summit (the latest iteration of the B.C. Open Textbook Summit), an event for new and experienced OER advocates interested in finding creative and effective solutions to solve the challenges and opportunities facing open education today.

Professional connections

We are fortunate to have created strong, professional relationships with many of the groups contributing to the success of post-secondary education in B.C. We often take a role as co-creator, facilitator, promoter, and/or participant with projects spearheaded by:

  • British Columbia Teaching & Learning Council (BCTLC) – the BCTLC is a community of leaders from British Columbia’s public post-secondary education system, working together to foster impactful learning in B.C. post-secondary institutions. BCcampus provides support to the BCTLC for its operations through financial, logistical, technical, and planning contributions
  • Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) – a grassroots group of educators interested in teaching, learning, and ed tech in higher education. During the past year, they organized two events, 12 apps, and regular newsletters to their 594 members
  • Open EdTech Collaborative (OpenETC) – a no-commitment-required group of educators, technologists, and designers encouraging the development of educational technology resources and eliminating barriers to the open web for B.C. academic leaders and students


“I was impressed with the program, the quality of the food, and the level of thoughtfulness and care. The caring spaces and art installations were amazing! A tea room, thank you card station, colouring table... You are taking academic conferences to a new level!”

LAP-E recipient at FoL18