AMS Announces Call for 2021 Nominations for OER Champions

2021 UBCV OER Champions: Nominations are open

The Alma Mater Society (AMS), alongside other University sponsors, is excited to announce that on November 18th, 2021, we will be hosting an event to honour those who work in Open Education at UBC. The call is now open for students and other members of the UBC community to nominate “OER Champions” — the faculty, staff, and administrators who dedicate their time to fostering accessible education at UBC — to be recognized and celebrated at this event. Open Educational Resources (OER) are defined as teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. 

OER include textbooks, full courses, course materials, modules, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. They reduce student costs for learning materials and enable instructors to modify, edit, or adapt high quality resources to fit their individual teaching goals in order to provide meaningful, contextualized materials for their students. 

The Alma Mater Society has been advocating for OER implementation at UBC for years, and it has been a privilege to witness how the hard work of those who work in OER has benefited students. The average student at UBC spends $893 dollars on textbooks and other course materials over the school year. This substantial amount, combined with the many other financial burdens students carry, means that students are forced to sacrifice important aspects of their academic experience to remain at UBC. Seventy-five percent of students at UBC report using either outdated textbooks or going without a textbook due to cost. A further eighteen percent of students report that they may have to abandon their studies at UBC due to financial reasons. While “open” is the goal of OER, this does not mean the same thing as “free;” instructor time and efforts are significant costs that go into the development and adoption of OER. 

The members of the UBC Community we wish to honour at this event are true champions of equitable access to education. They not only understand, but dedicate themselves to ensuring that socio-economic standing doesn’t act as a barrier for students being able to access course materials. Each (often unpaid) hour these champions devote towards OER leads to fewer students having to make the choice between accessing course materials and buying food and other burdens.

So — do you know someone at the university who has bettered your or others’ experience at UBC with their work on OERs? Be sure to nominate them through the simple form below so that they can be recognized and appreciated for the amazing work they do! Student nominators may also be invited to attend the event and will be entered into a giveaway to win a $150 MasterCard/Visa Giftcard (10 winners).

Eshana Bhangu
Vice President, Academic and University Affairs
Alma Mater Society