York University is among a cohort of educational institutions in the province that will champion the use of open educational resources (OER) through a program led by eCampusOntario.
Charlotte de Araujo, assistant professor, Faculty of Science, and Stephanie Quail, acting director of the Libraries’ Open Scholarship Department, were accepted into eCampusOntario’s Open Educational Resources Ranger (OER Ranger) program, an initiative designed to create and develop a network of OER advocates throughout Ontario’s post-secondary institutions.
A non-profit organization, eCampusOntario supports technology-enabled teaching, learning and innovation at Ontario’s publicly funded universities, colleges and Indigenous institutes.
According to eCampusOntario, the OER Rangers will “form a network of educators and practitioners interested in supporting the advancement of open education within their institution and are individuals who are passionate about education as a public good, and who promote OER as a sustainable approach to education.” There will be a total of 84 rangers from 46 Ontario institutions participating in this program.
York University’s engagement with OER continues to expand and grow, helping faculty advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. OER are openly licensed, freely available educational materials that can be used, accessed, adapted and redistributed with no (or limited) restrictions.
“With each semester, students have shared that purchasing textbooks is sometimes beyond their budget,” says de Araujo. “Being able to provide OERs, whether it is a chapter from a textbook or a worksheet to review information, can be a potential solution to help alleviate cost challenges and also enable students to freely review and revisit course material.”
To help support York University’s engagement with OER, de Araujo and Quail will host a live Zoom event, Discovering Open Education at York University, on Thursday, Nov. 23 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. During this event, attendees will learn about the following topics:
- what are open educational resources;
- open licensing basics;
- accessibility considerations and OER; and
- learning more about H5P and Pressbooks – common OER creation tools.
Faculty who are interested in using, adapting or creating OER are encouraged to attend this webinar, and can register now.
Additionally, faculty who would like to learn about OER in more depth can sign up for the Libraries’ fully asynchronous four-week OER mini-course. This course was initially developed in 2020 for Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) project leads, to help support them in turning a component of their AIF into an OER. Last fall, this course was opened up to all interested faculty and staff at York University.
“I highly recommend taking the OER mini-course because it helps instructors develop the skills they need to find existing high-quality OER. Incorporating OER into your courses helps provide your students with access to course learning materials from the first day of classes,” says Quail.
The online OER mini-course will begin on Monday, Nov. 20 and will wrap up on Monday, Dec.18. The four-module mini-course covers valuable topics such as:
- OER 101: What is OER? Including examples of OER and how they benefit students and faculty.
- Copyright and Creative Commons licenses: An exploration of the range of open licenses available to creators and how to choose a licence that makes the most sense for their project.
- Finding and evaluating OER: How to find OER for your subject area and evaluate them.
- Create or adapt pre-existing OER: Learn about OER project management techniques, accessibility considerations, and OER tools and platforms.
Quail will teach the Libraries’ OER mini-course this year. Register for the course now.