Open UBC

Open Snapshots: Thoughts & Processes

 

I’ve been publishing reports that attempt to capture a snapshot of the impacts and trends of open textbook and OER use at UBC for a few years now. I occasionally get questions about the process for developing the report and, somewhat belatedly, I thought I’d occasionally post some of my documentation and thinking of how I do the reports here.

In terms of the cost savings and student impacts of using open resources, here’s some general notes on what I capture and the calculations and assumptions that I make:

Guidelines for Inclusion

  • To be included in the snapshot, there should be no textbook fees/costs for students
    • Many courses use OER to supplement paid materials, however, these snapshots attempt to track courses in which OER has replaced paid resources
  • To be included in the report, materials do not necessarily have to be openly licensed but should be freely and openly accessible at a minimum. At UBC, such resources often take the form of instructor created custom course notes, interactive media, textbooks, and other learning resources that the instructor has created and posted publicly online but which do not include a stated permission for reuse and/or an open license, such as a Creative Commons license.
  • Materials should be on the open web and linkable from the report appendix; if materials are not on the open web (i.e unique course notes that the instructor has developed), the instructor should be able to provide a copy of the materials to share.

Questions to ask specific course instructors:

  • Using OER in place of textbook (Y/N)
  • Specific sections using the OER – this is important as all sections cannot be assumed to use the same resources; specific sections must be confirmed.
  • Title and cost of displaced textbook (note, I also try to independently confirm cost)
  • Title and link to the specific OER being used
  • All past terms and specific sections (going back five years) that have used that OER
  • If they know other instructors using OER

Estimations and Assumptions:

  • Use Planing and Institutional Reporting (PAIR) enrolment data to look up actual enrolments on a per section basis (for specific year/term) – this is important as instructors can slightly off on the exact size of their classes
  • Per BCcampus & OpenStax formulations, cost savings should be estimated as a range to take into account all options students have for acquiring a text. To estimate the minimum cost savings range, use $100 for minimum savings range. Maximum savings should be estimated based on the actual cost of replaced book.
    • If replaced book was less than $100, use the actual amount for minimum savings range.
    • If cost or displaced  is unknown: Search the UBC bookstore to estimate cost; use $100 if price cannot be determined
    • If no text is identified as having been replaced in the last five years, use $100.
  • Note: only confirmed OER use should be included in the snapshot; reports on use from OpenStax, BCcampus should be confirmed locally.

I’m always looking to improve and refine these reports. If you have any suggestions, thoughts, questions, please let me know!

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Open UBC

Significant Commitments to Open Resources at UBC

In the fall of 2019, the Office of the Provost and the Vice-President Academic at UBC Vancouver committed one million dollars, $250,000 in annual funding for four years, to support the adoption, use, and sustainment of open educational resources (OER) at UBC. This grant funding initiative builds upon significant contributions and commitments that UBC faculty, students and staff have already made to using OER at UBC.

In the 2019/20 academic year (September 2019 to April 2020), an estimated 18,440 students enrolled in courses using open resources in place of paid textbooks or readings. This replacement of traditional textbooks with open resources has potentially saved UBC students an estimated $1.8 to $2.5 million this academic year. In acknowledgement of these efforts, the UBC Vancouver Alma Mater Society (AMS), the Provost and Vice-President Academic, and the UBC Library recognized over 55 UBCV faculty and staff as “OER Champions” who have made a significant contribution to the use of open educational resources at UBCV.

Read my full report here…

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Open UBC

Significant Use of Open Resources at UBC

In 2018, UBC published a new Strategic Plan that articulated the intention to expand the creation and dissemination of open educational resources as well as recognized the contributions that UBC faculty, student and staff have made in this area.

These contributions have had a significant impact: in academic year 2018, an estimated 15,388 students were impacted by courses using open resources in place of paid textbooks or readings. This replacement of traditional textbooks with open resources has potentially saved UBC students an estimated $1.5 to $2.3 million dollars this academic year. The wide diversity of UBC open education initiatives and efforts, from strong AMS advocacy and innovative instructor efforts to increased strategic support and funding, is helping to ensure that the adoption and use of open resources continues to be a significant practice at UBC.

Read my full report here…

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Open UBC

Open Snippets

It looks like the 2018 AMS Academic Experience Survey (AES) has officially been published and one interesting finding is that 86% of undergrad respondents reported that they have used open educational resources in lieu of textbooks at least once.

The Ubyssey covers the expanding conversation around the affordability of learning materials, including the cost of online assessment materials, and mentions open educational resources as having a role to play in possible mitigation strategies.

Meanwhile, OpenCon 2018 will be in Toronto this year — OpenCon is an international open ed, open data, open access event for students and “early career” professionals. Interested folks have to apply to be able to attend as they attempt to “bring together a diverse, representative, and engaged group of participants, with travel scholarships available to most participants”.

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Open Policies, Open UBC

Open as a TLEF Priority Focus

UBC-Vancouver’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) was created in 1991 to enrich student learning by supporting innovative and effective educational enhancements.

Starting in the 2017/2018 cycle, a priority focus on the development or integration of open educational resources (OER) was added to the criteria for new proposals. Furthermore, eligibility requirements were also added that specifically stated that funded projects are encouraged to openly license their developed materials under an appropriate Creative Commons license to allow for broad sharing within and beyond UBC.

Open UBC Image

Approximately 25% of the 2017/2018 TLEF funded projects had an explicit open strategy. In the 2018/2019 cycle, more than 39 percent of the TLEF funded projects incorporated strategies around open resources or practices.

The TLEF is Funded By Students

The TLEF is financed through a portion of the student tuition paid to UBC Vancouver. According to the 2016 AMS Student Experience Survey (pdf), nearly 75% of students have not bought a course text due to cost at least once and 37% reported. Access to educational materials is an important topic for students as they often or frequently go without textbooks or resources due to cost. Open educational resources and practices can help close those access barriers.

Examples of Open Education Projects Funded by the TLEF

Please visit the UBC TLEF site for a complete list of TLEF funded projects.

This post was adapted from the TLEF and Open Education Poster presented at the TLEF Showcase. The original poster can be downloaded here.

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