In Celebration of the New AskAway Chat Tag: Open Education

By Elizabeth Padilla
Institutional Repository, Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences, HITL
BCIT Library

The new Open Education tag allows us to track those questions when a service provider explains or provides access to Open Access, Open Education, or Open Textbook resources. This includes questions about no-cost textbook options, for example a student looking for an older version of a textbook from the library.

The role of libraries is evolving and expanding in our fast-changing information environment, and expertise in open education and open access is a crucial asset for modern library staff providing reference and information services. Libraries play an important part in discovery, development, description, licensing, curation, and sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER), as well as in advocating for and supporting their use:

  • Open Access to Scholarship
  • OER, Open Textbooks, and Open Courses in the classroom
  • Helping Faculty Find, Evaluate, and Adapt OER
  • Opening up your Institution

If you are a librarian or library technician in B.C.’s post-secondary system, you’ve probably come across the B.C. Open Collection maintained by BCcampus, which started as a collection of open textbooks in 2012. Over the years, the demand for open education in B.C. has grown to support a greater range of open learning and teaching resources.

"The success of open education in B.C. is attributed to the dedication of educators, librarians, administrators, instructional designers, educational technologists, and student advocates. I thank each of them for their contributions to making education in B.C. more accessible and affordable to all." Amanda Coolidge, Interim Executive Director at BCcampus.

B.C. Open Collection by BCcampus


There’s a new home for the collection, and not only does it look better and include more content, but also it provides a better user experience for anyone looking for OER for their course.

The B.C. Open Collection is a platform of open educational resources (OER). It includes open courses as well as a huge library of open textbooks, all with a focus on transferability in the B.C. post-secondary system.

It also includes all the specific learning materials of those open courses. For example, if you are asked about materials on plagiarism during an AskAway session, you can search for ‘plagiarism’ in the B.C. Open Collection and then filter by Material Type (ex: Reading Materials, Assessments, Assignments) to retrieve a number of open learning resources for plagiarism including quizzes. The course collection is still in early days, so the number of resources will only grow over the next few years.

Sharing is Caring

I had the unique pleasure to work with the BCcampus development team as a metadata librarian working to improving findability across the entire collection. Using metadata standards for learning resources, and schemas for structured data on the Internet, a shared vocabulary and some familiar library cataloguing techniques that I brought, combined with the remarkable coding and very talented user interface design, we produced a new home for the collection that will make finding the right OER course materials when you need them easier.

The new collection site currently includes 10 fully developed and openly licensed courses created by B.C. post-secondary educators and funded by a series of BCcampus open online course grants awarded over the past 18 months.

“We hope to see more open courses become a part of this collection,” said Amanda. “We will continue to add relevant open textbooks, open courses, and other vetted resources — ancillary materials with homework and test banks — into the collection, providing an experience to the user that makes them aware these are quality open materials they can use right off the web in their own courses.”

Why are Open Educational Resources (OER) important for faculty and students?

  • Equal Access to High Quality Educational Resources
  • Empowers Teachers In Having a voice in Sharing Instructional Content with their Students
  • Empowers Teachers to create Content and Not be Bound by What Publishers offer
  • Working with OER you Join a Fun and Supportive Community of Scholar Learners
  • Takes Worries about Copyright Out of the Classroom
  • Open Textbooks offer Students less financial Burden, and more success
  • Open Educational Resources offer global equity to Education

BCcampus will continue to support post-secondary institutions in British Columbia by adding relevant open textbooks, open courses, and other vetted resources into the collection, providing a resource of quality open materials that instructors can use right off the web in their own courses.

Learn more

Explore the B.C. Open Collection: 

Read about its new home: Creating a Better User Experience for the B.C. Open Collection / by BCcampus editorial team June 16, 2022