July 15, 2020
CAUL-CBUA To Launch Regional Open Educational Resource (OER) Repository
The Council of Atlantic University Libraries / Conseil des bibliothèques universitaires de l’Atlantique (CAUL-CBUA) is pleased to announce a $35,000 initial investment by the Council into the creation of a free, online publishing and hosting platform for regionally developed Open Educational Resources (OERs) for post-secondary students. OERs encompass open copyright or public domain teaching resources made available to users for free. This includes electronic textbooks; streaming videos and audio; digital images, and supplementary materials.
“The value of OERs is immense”, says CAUL-CBUA Executive Director, Cynthia Holt. “Foremost, we will be saving students thousands of dollars on textbooks each year through this innovative, low cost program. Additionally, we are promoting a sense of regional collaboration, where educators can freely and easily create or adapt materials for their course needs. They can also work collaboratively with colleagues anywhere in the world in developing these materials. It’s a win-win situation”.
With COVID-19 forcing many campuses into adopting online delivery models, educators are hard at work adapting their teaching to this environment. By investing in this pilot program, CAUL-CBUA will support and enable this online learning experience, providing real value to both students and educators, while also saving students thousands of dollars per year. A similar initiative – BCcampus - has saved students close to $19 million dollars since its inception in 2012.
The pilot program will focus on training educators to create or adapt OERs, like online textbooks, as well as providing financial support to individual educators, or groups of educators, in the form of grants to cover any costs involved in creating or adapting these OERs.
“Beyond tuition, one of the highest costs students face is the price of textbooks. Canadian students can be expected to pay between $800-$1,000 per year on textbooks, often resulting in students opting to not purchase materials,” says Samantha Graham, Chair of StudentsNS. “A shift to digital materials will increase both access and affordability. In a year where many students will be studying online, this is an opportune time for our region to help lead the way in innovative educational practices”.
The Council of Atlantic University Libraries - Conseil des bibliothèques universitaires de l’Atlantique is a collaborative partnership of 18 universities and colleges in Atlantic Canada. Students Nova Scotia is the largest post-secondary student advocacy organization in Nova Scotia, and is a proud supporter of CAUL-CBUA’s OER project.
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