OER Champions Nomination

The UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS), alongside other University sponsors, is excited to announce that on November 18, 2021, it 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 so much of their time to fostering accessible education at UBC — to be acknowledged at this event. 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. OER reduces student costs for learning materials and enables 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 AMS has been advocating for OER implementation at UBC for quite some time, and over the years it has been privileged to witness how the hard work of those who work in OER has benefited students. The average student at UBC spends $829 dollars on textbooks and other course materials over the school year. This significant amount, combined with students having to bear many other financial burdens — including tuition, housing, and general cost of living — means that students are forced to sacrifice important aspects of their academic experience to remain at UBC. Seventy percent of students at UBC report using either outdated textbooks or going without a textbook due to cost. A further twenty 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 UBC community members the AMS wishes to honour at this event are true champions of equitable accessibility. They know that all students at UBC should be able to utilize course materials regardless of their socio-economic standing. Each (often unpaid) hour they dedicate towards OER leads to fewer students facing the significant financial burden that accompanies accessing course materials. 

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 via the simple form so that they can be recognized and appreciated for the amazing work they do! Nominators may also have a chance to attend the event.