September 10, 2018. – On August 22, 2018, a group of librarians committed to advancing open educational resources (OER) came together at York University for a full day of discussion towards enhancing Canadian library and librarian involvement in post-secondary OER.
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has been monitoring the development of OER for several years, and in 2014 carried out a survey of its members regarding their involvement in OER, subsequently producing a working paper, Open Textbooks: Opportunities for Research Libraries.
Four years later, it is clear that library involvement in OER (and open textbooks specifically) has increased substantially. Provincial funding programs and individual projects have been developed across Canada aimed at lowering the cost of student learning materials while also offering instructors accessible content that they can tailor and develop to suit their evolving pedagogical practices. In 2012 BCcampus launched Canada’s first publicly funded open textbook development project, followed by initiatives in Alberta, Manitoba, and most recently through Ontario’s eCampusOntario. Individual OER projects aimed at supporting a specific course or area of study have also cropped up at post-secondary educational institutions throughout Canada, often the result of collaborations involving faculty, librarians, and centres for teaching and learning. Internationally, SPARC has taken a leading role in OER and open education advocacy and training, offering in 2017-2018 a first instance of its in-depth Open Education Leadership Program for librarians (a second offering is set to launch this month).
To identify needs at the national level related to OER involvement by research libraries, CARL invited ten emerging and established library leaders in OER to a one-day working meeting.
The meeting was hosted by York University Libraries and led by York’s Dean of Libraries, Joy Kirchner, who also sits on CARL’s Advancing Research Committee. Also representing CARL was Lise Brin, Program Officer working primarily in open scholarship. The invited participants were:
- Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education, SPARC
- Dianne Cmor, Associate University Librarian, Teaching & Learning, Concordia University
- Inba Kehoe, Copyright Officer and Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of Victoria
- Maude Laplante-Dubé, Bibliothécaire-conseil – Diffusion de la recherche, Université Laval
- Ann Ludbrook, Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian, Ryerson University
- Hope Power, Teaching & Learning Librarian, Simon Fraser University
- Stephanie Quail, Business Librarian, York University
- Lillian Rigling, Program Coordinator, eCampus Ontario
- Ali Versluis, Open Education Librarian, University of Guelph
- Amanda Wakaruk, Copyright Librarian, University of Alberta
Some of the ideas arising from this day of discussion included: creating a “bootcamp” for librarian leaders in OER based on a train-the-trainer philosophy, implementing a distributed regional network for increasing capacity for OER advocacy and creation within libraries, forging stronger relationships with other OER stakeholder groups, and creating a statement that articulates the case for library involvement in OER. These ideas will be brought to CARL’s Advancing Research Committee and Strengthening Capacity Committee for consideration in the next weeks with a view to confirming next steps into advancing the library involvement in the OER movement in Canada.
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CARL members include Canada’s twenty-nine largest university libraries as well as two national libraries. Enhancing research and higher education are at the heart of its mission. CARL develops the capacity to support this mission, promotes effective and sustainable scholarly communication, and public policy that enables broad access to scholarly information.
For more information, please contact:
Canadian Association of Research Libraries