ARTICLES

Opening Canadian Classrooms 
January 5, 2016

Open Educational Resources have been used in Canadian classrooms for years, but now they have formal backing

Jason Dewling, co-chair of the Campus Alberta Open Educational Resources initiative, recalls hauling boxes upon boxes of textbooks with him through several moves over three provinces as a post secondary student. Eventually, he says, the boxes were all moved to the dump. 

Now, he says, those textbooks would be out-dated and not applicable to the subjects they were meant to accompany. But luckily, the introduction of open educational resources (OER) means students have access to information that is current, and reduces the huge costs normally associated with commercial textbooks. And they can access all of it on their mobile devices.


Introduction to Statistics Goes Open
January 5, 2016

Two post-secondary institutes came together to create open resource course materials. 

Director of the Department of Mathematics and Science at the University of Calgary, Nancy Chibry, is currently piloting the open educational resource (OER) she created for her introductory statistics course. The OER includes an open source textbook, lecture notes, slides put together at the University of Calgary as well as a test bank of questions being developed at Mount Royal.


Open Genetics, Open Collaboration
January 5, 2016

Professors from several universities have collaborated to create a textbook that more easily correspond to their genetics lectures.

Understanding the basics of genetics is important to many fields including biology, medicine and agriculture. Meanwhile, having an introductory textbook that covers the information in a way that’s comprehensive without being overwhelming is a challenge. In fact, Professor John Locke (University of Alberta), and others at the, University of Calgary, and Mount Royal University have been trying to do just that for a few years.


Removing Barriers with OER
January 5, 2016

Two institutions have come together to create an English as a Second Language resource that’s more applicable to a Canadian context

When newcomers to Canada are learning English as a second language, they engage better with their learning when using materials that relate to their experience. Therefore, textbooks that feature Canadian examples and cultural experiences relevant to the country are incredibly helpful, says Lisa Rochman, Associate Dean of Immigrant Education at NorQuest College.

Read more


Cellular Molecular Microbiology OERs
November 19, 2015

Medicine Hat College’s library had an idea—to encourage the creation of and use of open educational resources (OER) within the campus. In order to follow through with the proposal, they decided to undergo a pilot project, whereby an (OER) would be created and subsequently used at the campus.

Read more


An Open Book: OER at a Global Perspective
November 19, 2015

Many writers and publishers are concerned with protecting their copyright—ensuring that their work will not be taken and used by others without their consent. However, there is one group of creators who are more concerned with ensuring that their content is open. These individuals are educators—university professors, high school instructors, elementary teachers, and students—who would like to create educational resources that can freely be used within their community and around the world. For these individuals, open copyright licenses (e.g., Creative Commons licenses) allow their work to benefit students (and the public) through the use of Open Educational Resources (OER).

Read more


eText on Teaching Skills for Health Professionals
November 19, 2015

Students who pursue careers in the healthcare sector need to gain a multitude of skills in many areas—and most are addressed in post-secondary fields of study. But Athabasca associate professor, Sherri Melrose, says the teaching skills needed for healthcare professionals to pass on their knowledge in a clinical setting are sometimes overlooked.

Read More


Interactive and Mobile Physics Learning Tools
November 19, 2015

When it comes to learning complex concepts, there are some methods that are especially helpful for students. Using visual cues can help the students connect what they are learning in more of a concrete way, while interactive components can test their knowledge as they progress through the course.

Read More


Applying Management Skills
October 14, 2015

Applied Logistics Management is a field of study that refers to the planning required when an organization acquires or sells materials giving rise to inventory movement from one area to another. Those who work in the field coordinate the movement of ocean, aviation and land freight. They select routes and ports, work with suppliers or customers, document the clearing of customs, manage contracts while assessing the risks and costs involved with trading goods. Mount Royal has a program dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of this field.

Read more


A New Accounting Resource
October 14, 2015

Tilly Jensen is Associate Dean of Pedagogy and Student Experience with Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business and she’s also the project lead for the creation of an open educational resource (OER) whereby tutorials are being created for the first and second intermediate accounting courses. The tutorials will be available online for free to students anywhere, not just enrolled at Athabasca University.

Read more


Customized Open Spanish Text
October 14, 2015

Since 2007 Michael Dabrowski has been teaching Spanish at Athabasca University. But throughout that time, he often ran into problems with textbooks when publishers would change editions or discontinue books. Every time that happened, he would need to completely update his courses.  Recently, the publisher of the Spanish 200 and 201 textbook announced the book would no longer be published. “So, rather than adopting a new textbook and going through the cycle all over again, I decided to write one myself,” says Dabrowski.

Read more


Revised Workplace Communications Course
September 16, 2015

Workplace communication skills encompass everything from written communications to interactions with people of all ages and backgrounds in the work environment. Effective communications skills help create a productive and enjoyable work environment. In fact, these skills are deemed so important that it is now mandatory that all post-secondary diploma level programs in Alberta include a workplace communications course.

Read more


Open Source Field Trips
September 16, 2015

Physical geography needs to be taught with opportunities to go into the field and engage with the subject matter first hand, according to Athabasca University assistant professor, Frédérique Pivot. In the past, Athabasca University, which operates as an on-line post-secondary institute, only offered theoretical physical geography courses. But Pivot knew students needed to solidify their knowledge by actually seeing the land masses, soil structures, and forests that illustrate the points made in textbooks. Physical geography is a field course, after all, she says, and she knew the field trips would also increase passion in the subject.

Read more


Open Source: the Logical Choice for a Logic Textbook
September 16, 2015

Basic logic courses are an important part of several different programs spanning very different career paths, including computer science, linguistics, philosophy and mathematics. All of these subjects require that the learner have a grasp of the basic tenets of formal methods of logic, and the University of Calgary (U of C) offers three courses that can be applied to these varied backgrounds.

Read more


Open Literacy in Alberta
August 20, 2015

When most people think of literacy, they likely think of the mechanics of the language— vocabulary, reading comprehension and grammar. But literacy also comprises everyday applications such as the ability to read documents, graphs and tables. Krista Medhurst, business leader at Bow Valley College, says gaps in these skills can be hugely detrimental for people, negatively impacting their success in the labour market, in post-secondary education, and even be harmful for their health.

Read more


Health and Community Development Course Aims to Lessen Student Fees
August 20, 2015

It’s obvious that Joy Fraser is passionate about the revised Health and Community Development course that’s currently being created at Athabasca University. The Professor and Director for Health Administration knows first-hand the importance of community development, having worked with First Nations’ populations in Canada and with the World Health Organization (WHO) on international projects in Switzerland, Kuwait and the Caribbean to name just a few. She’s also worked with The Kigali Health Institute in Rwanda and the Dubai Health Authority.

Read more


Free OH&S Text - Service Economy Focused
August 20, 2015

Learning about occupational health and safety has long been a part of many post-secondary programs—from those teaching human resources to nursing to technical training. Everyone who operates within the work force should have knowledge that will ensure they are safe on the job.

Read more