Run a Working Group

14 Provide Grants and Support

Identify existing institutional and organizational support

Teaching and learning centres and libraries often have the knowledge and capacity to support aspects of open educational practices (OEP) and open educational resource (OER) development. For example, the libraries at institutions such as SFU, KPU, and UBC support faculty adopting, adapting, and creating OER. However, open education is an emerging discipline and adequate support for open education is sometimes lacking.[1] This lack of support can mean that faculty take on open projects off the sides of their desks, increasing workload and stress and increasing the potential for redlining:

For if the movement relies on voluntary academic labour or severely under-compensated academic labour to create, peer-review, and contextualize OER, we are in effect perpetrating an implicit form of redlining, one that reserves the capacity to create or adapt OER for those who already enjoy positions of privilege, such as the tenured or those who do not need the income.[2]

Rajiv Jhangiani

Working groups can play a role in mitigating the issue of voluntary academic labour by supporting faculty by helping them identify available institutional or organizational support.

Questions to Consider

  1. What institutional resources are available to faculty, staff, and students?
  2. What resources from outside of the institution can be leveraged?
  3. Which units within your institution have the expertise to support faculty in the design and development of OER?
  4. Which units within your institution can support open pedagogy and OEP?
  5. What platforms or tools are available to create OER or support open practices? Examples, of this might include Pressbooks for textbook publishing or Media Wiki for open teaching.
  6. Which units or individuals are available to provide training and support for open tools?

Support faculty who use OER or OEP in their courses

In addition to helping faculty identify existing supports, open working groups have developed processes and services for faculty who use OER and OEP. Open working groups can also provide support for projects focused on creating or adapting OER. In B.C., this support ranges from distributing grant funds and managing these projects, to working directly with faculty members to develop and adapt OER, to providing technical support and consultation for faculty developing these projects.

In Practice: Supporting the Creation of OER

At the University of Brtish Columbia (UBC), members of the open working group have provided individual consultations for faculty using open approaches to teaching. At Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), the open working group, in collaboration with the library, has developed OPuS, KPU’s Open Publishing Suite, which includes support for creating, adopting, and adapting OER with Pressbooks.

Offer open development grants for faculty

A number of open working groups are involved in the administration and support of open development grants. These grant funds are offered by the institution, awarded by the committee based on established criteria, and provided to the faculty member for the development of an OER or open course. These criteria may be based on what subjects are in need of OER or by some other criteria deemed important by your group. Examples of these grant programs can be found at KPU, BCIT, and TRU.

Offer open incentive grants for faculty

For an alternative approach to development grants, Douglas College encourages individuals or teams to apply for incentive grants towards a professional development activity of their choosing to assist in the implementation of OER in courses. The purpose of the incentive is to encourage faculty to explore and implement ways to reduce the cost of education to students while maximizing access to and use of textbooks and other learning resources by all students.

  1. Martin Weller, "Different Aspects of the Emerging OER Discipline," Revista Educacao e Cultura Contemporanea 13, no.31 (2016).
  2. Rajiv Jhangiani, "OER, Equity, and Implicit Creative Redlining," Rajiv Jhangiani, PH.D., (accessed January 31, 2019).


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Working Group Guide Copyright © 2019 by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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