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Monday, May 28 • 3:15pm - 4:00pm
OE Advocacy and Action at the University of Alberta: The Progress, Collaboration and Challenges for OE Initiatives at a Large, Multi-Campus Institution

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This presentation investigates the challenges in Open Education (OE) advocacy at the University of Alberta (U of A) where institutional support and interest is still emergent. OE initiatives and advocacy at the U of A has recently been pushed to a new level of priority with the hiring of an Open Education Project Manager in the Centre for Teaching and Learning and an OE-focused Digital Initiatives Librarian at the U of A Libraries. These new position have given OE a foothold by fostering a collaboration between the CTL and Libraries by dedicating staff to OE on the U of A Campus.

Aside from these new position, a campus wide interest group, a multi-unit advocacy group, a new OER Awards program, and a select number of sustained champions including, U of A librarian's, the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and the Campus Bookstore have been dedicating time to the progress of OE on our campus. OE work to date at U of A has produced several successes including the OER awards program that aims to support faculty in the use of OER in course delivery, growing student interest in OE advocacy through a Be Booksmart and Textbook Broke campaign, administrative support from the Office of the Vice-Provost Learning Initiatives, and the internationally recognized Surgery 101 podcast project.

Despite these achievements, progress toward broader engagement with OE including use of OER and open pedagogy has been strained by several factors, a struggle identified by Gerald Beasley (2017) as a “Sisyphean challenge.” Provincially, the cancellation of the ABOER program resulting in less formalized means for coordination of OE efforts among Alberta institutions, and a stagnant provincial repository. While localized to our campus, there has been limited update in OER events, particularly among faculty, and engaged champions represent only a few groups from a multi-location campus. Engaged champions represent several campus constituencies and must balance needs and priorities of those with and without academic freedom and a mix of seniority levels. Most importantly, the vast majority of advocacy work being undertaken by the same core group of roughly a dozen at an institution with over 40,000 students, staff and faculty.


Michelle Brailey

Librarian, University of Alberta Library
Michelle supports institution-wide program development, awareness, and sustainability of OER. As an open education advocate, she contributes to the open education movement locally and globally through initiatives advocating for open educational resources, open data, and open acce... Read More →

Monday May 28, 2018 3:15pm - 4:00pm AKDT
Port of Singapore