Paul Stacey

The 8th Annual BCcampus Online Program Development Fund – building OER through partnerships

Yesterday I announced the 8th annual round of the BCcampus Online Program Development Fund Open Educational Resource (OER) initiative through a call for proposals to BC’s public post secondary institutions.

Launching the fund each year is a major undertaking and one of the highlights of my year each time it occurs. I’m particularly excited about a couple of things that are receiving special emphasis in this years call. Here are my top two highlights:

  • This years fund is very focused on supporting development of OER through multi-institutional partnerships that produce for-credit OER leading to a credential. We’ve mapped the OER coming out of our earlier rounds of funding to the credential, field of study and subject area classification scheme used for BC’s public post secondary system. Proposals this year are being asked to map against the same schema and provide information on expected enrolments.
  • This years fund is giving preference to proposals that incorporate the use of existing OER, either from previous rounds of our fund or from other OER initiatives around the world, into their proposal. In other words we’re looking to see development of new resources be integrated with existing OER to create course and credential offerings. We are intentionally incentivizing reuse. I’m hoping this will be precedent setting in terms of what we see come forward in proposals and as a model and approach Foundations and other OER initiatives around the world adopt. To the best of my knowledge no other OER initiative has tried to do this.

In parallel with the announcement we launched some new and improved sites:

  • The BCcampus Online Program Development Fund OER workspace wiki was launched to provide a comprehensive source of information about the current call for proposals as well as providing historical information about the previous seven rounds.
  • OPDF OER reports by year, by institution, and by field of study are now available to support searching the awards made in the first seven rounds 2003-2009. See the 2003-2009 OPDF History page of the workspace wiki to try them out.
  • A new BC Commons web site was launched to provide a place where developers can learn about and access the licenses we are using for our OER.
  • A revamped BCcampus Shareable Online Learning Resources (SOL*R) repository has been launched to support the review, revision, remix and redistribution of our OER. A huge thanks go out to Scott Leslie and Victor Chen for their work on this new version of the site. I’m especially keen about all the additional academic context the repository is now providing for the resources and the availability of a single record for each project that provides access to all the resources that project developed.

At the end of the day on Tuesday I gave a webinar titled “OERder out of Chaos – creating credentials with OER” as part of the Open Education Resource Foundation Open Access Week series of webinars. Recordings of this webinar and the other excellent ones happening during this week are all available from their web site.

Phew, thats enough for now. Lots of activity.

I’m especially hopeful that OER are reaching a tipping point in terms of acceptance, that we’ll see lots of partnerships form around OER development, and that we’ll have an incredibly impressive set of proposals submitted in response to this years call.

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