Open Education takes a stand at TRU

TRUSU and TRU faculty work together to build awareness about Open Education

Open Education is a new campaign TRUSU hopse to embrace in the coming semesters. (Aidan Grether/The Omega)

Last week was Open Education Week at TRU, hosted by the Thompson Rivers University Student Union (TRUSU). Many events were held on campus, predominantly in the student union building, to raise awareness for Open Education.

This was the first-ever open education week at TRU, and many came out to support the cause. For those that don’t know what Open Education is, Sierra Rae, TRUSU President explains the ins and outs of this fresher movement.

Rae said, “Open Education is the ability for faculty and staff to create resources for students. It’s an open pedagogy so it’s talking about how we can create educational materials that are available for everyone to use and they’re available free for students.”

This week had many presentations and workshops that students, faculty and community members could attend. There were a lot of opportunities to learn about what Open Education is and why it’s important.

“It’s important because it allows students free access to course materials that are otherwise very expensive,” Rae said regarding its importance. “Things like third party learning platforms and online resources that are typically paid for are not considered Open Education. Open Education, in turn, is anything that provides free access or open access for everyone to use.”

This week included keynote speaker presentations from Michael Geist, a Full Professor and Canada Research Chair from the University of Ottawa and Amanda Coolidge, the Director of Open Education from the BCCampus.

There were also opportunities to socialize and enjoy appetizers between some events. On Thursday, March 5 there was a showcase where those involved with Open Education at TRU and in Kamloops came to talk about their contributions to it, including the TRU Library, the TNRD Kamloops Library and some professors at TRU.

It may be a long road ahead to achieve open education everywhere, but Rae has hopes for Open Education.

“I would like to see more of a community with faculty students and staff all being involved in the creation and understanding of Open Education Resources.” She added that “I think it’s all about starting the conversation and hopefully building the conversation on this issue.”

Anyone can get involved with Open Education and it starts with talking about it.

Rae said, “I’d just like to encourage students to talk with their faculty and learn more about what open education materials are offered in their program and encourage faculty where possible to work on open education resources and use the services we have here at TRU to help.”