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Monday, October 18 • 5:15pm - 5:25pm
Student Champion: Creating a $500k OER Initiative

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I always knew that I wanted to make an impact towards tackling some of the big challenges that students in higher education face. One such challenge is educational affordability. Increasing tuition costs across Canada and the world are making school less realistic for droves of students. Hard working and gifted people are being put in positions where they have to choose between getting their degrees and putting food on the table. This is heartbreaking and unacceptable, so I wanted to try and do something about it.

Learning about Open Education Resources (OER) and the pervasive benefits they can have for both pedagogy and affordability, I knew promoting their use would be an amazing way to make post-secondary accessible to more students. In discussions with various stakeholders at my university, I came to understand that one of the biggest hurdles in increasing OER use was lack of funds. Unfortunately, OER creation does not tend to be incentivized by post-secondary institutions and as such there may be low levels of engagement.

Reflecting deeply on this hurdle, I worked collaboratively with numerous stakeholders at my institution including our Library and Teaching & Learning Institute to develop an innovative solution titled the Open Education Resource Fund (OERF). The purpose OERF is to make funding available in the form of grants that educators could apply for to create new OER, adapt of existing OER, or peer review existing OER.

From this idea, a comprehensive grant application was created and submitted to a granting program offered by our institution to help students pursue their novel solutions to problems on campus. Incredibly, we were successful in receiving $500,000.00 towards the creation of the OERF, which provides enough money to create at least 50 OER projects over the next 5 years.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Understand the student perspective of OER advocacy
  • Become aware of the innovative ways students are pushing for increased uptake of OER
  • Learn how much of an impact Open Ed/OER can have for students
  • Discover the potential for student involvement in the Open Ed

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Chaten Jessel

Student presenter, University of Calgary

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Monday October 18, 2021 5:15pm - 5:25pm EDT
Room E