At RRC Polytech, faculty and staff have begun using existing Open Educational Resources (OER’s) to support their work with students. This past year, Rebecca Hiebert and Emilie Jackson, while working in the Academic Success Centre in Library and Academic Services, adapted a compilation of OE resources to create College Success for Newcomers, an OER in the form of an e-book.
What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?
OERs can come in many different formats. In general, OERs are educational materials such as: textbooks, problem sets, assessments, slide decks, videos, lesson plans, study guides, handouts, info graphics, and other educational content that can be used for free and without permission.
OERs are resources published under an open license, such as Creative Commons allowing these resources to be freely adapted. Under an open license instructors and students can retain, revise, remix, reuse and redistribute these educational resources.
Want the full story on how to adapt an OER?
Be sure to join us at the RED Forum session Success for Newcomers: Building and Using Open Educational Resources, on Friday, June 2 from 1:15-2:15pm.
Rebecca Hiebert and Ebony Novakowski will present about the journey to adapting an OER as well as best practices for OER Licensing and information on accessing OERs.
How Rebecca and Emilie got started
At the start of the pandemic, Rebecca struck on a brilliant idea to help students learn how to write outlines when taking notes in class or brainstorming to write reports. Rebecca hoped to create a video of herself using PowerPoint slides with a TED Talk clips to inform a step-by-step guide that demonstrated how to listen to content in a video, analyze the main ideas, and capture these in an outline. Being proactive and respectful of copyright concerns, she reached out to the TED Talks people to request permission to use their video in this way. After a long month of waiting, she received an answer, but not the one she was hoping for.
This led to a conversation with RRC Polytech’s Copyright Officer, Ebony Novakowski, who introduced Rebecca to an online repository of open videos that she could use in the resource she wanted to create. With the new resource under her belt, Rebecca was intrigued by the possibility of creating additional OER. A few months later, with help from Emilie Jackson, and funding support for the Campus Manitoba PressbooksEDU Network grant they were on their way to creating a localized version of College Success for Newcomers: a guide to provide language and academic supports for new students in Manitoba.
Want to learn more about the OER College Success for Newcomers?
This OER resource supports newcomer students and can be used by anyone in North American (or anywhere really!) The goal is to reduce duplication where instructors and support staff are all trying to create and recreate similar resources to help international students adapt to the Canadian college setting. This resource is free to be used and adapted further by instructors and support staff worldwide. Additionally, the resource provides multiple perspectives so that international students can learn about Canadian culture and the diverse experiences of the people who live here.
Where is the College Success for Newcomers OER available?
The OER is available online (worldwide) through the platform Pressbooks. The OER can be downloaded into a variety of formats including PDF which could be printed out or viewed offline as well as Pressbooks XML which can be used to adapt the content into future OERs. The OER can be used by anyone, anywhere without permission. It is entirely open and free to access.
One perk of Open Educational Resources is that they benefit multiple departments, schools, and educators. and by creating resources under open licenses, they can be easily shared without preventative restrictions to instructors who want to use and modify the resource. They can also be shared without cost to students.
The Academic Success Centre will use College Success for Newcomers OER when working with international students both in 1:1 tutoring and when leading workshops.
The Social Innovation and Community Development department will use the OER in courses that are blended with international students, Canadian born students of diverse (European) ancestry, and Indigenous students.
Communications instructors will be implementing the OER into the fall version of COMM 1173, Communication Strategies, that will reach over 1,200 students at RRC Polytech.
Instructors will be using the OER in the Department of LINC English Language Learning and Newcomer Integration (previously the Language Training Centre) IRCC English Language Programming.
Looking for Personal or Departmental OER Support?
Open Educational Resources are accessible online and free to share and use in any educational setting. There are already many existing OERs available so if you are looking for a resource to support students, reach out to the library staff and they can help you search for an OER to meet your needs.
Open Education Week (March 6-10, 2023) raises awareness and highlights innovative open education successes worldwide. OE Week provides practitioners, educators, and students with an opportunity to build a greater understanding of open educational practices and be inspired by the wonderful work being developed by the community around the world.
As costs continue to rise for students, educators are looking toward free open resources made by educators for educators to help ensure students have access to the course materials they need to succeed. These resources also ensure educators have permission to adapt lesson materials without seeking complicated copyright permissions or encountering restrictive digital access requirements. To date, the adoption of Open Textbooks by instructors at RRC Polytech has saved students $477, 500 in textbook costs. Thank you to all our instructors who participate in Open Education!
Increase Adoption of OER and Electronic Resources: A Key Action for High-Quality Learning
As indicated as a key action of high-quality learning at Red Forum 2022, the Library Team is here to help support instructors in finding high-quality electronic educational resources. The pandemic has blurred the lines between” in-person” learning and “remote” digital classrooms. The RRC Polytech Library is here to support instructors in locating resources that can withstand the need to shift learning environments nimbly.
We invite instructors who may have struggled with format shifts using their current teaching materials, or those who are seeking alternatives to current textbooks, to consider the shift to Open Educational Resources (OER). These are educational materials such as textbooks, problem sets, slide decks, lesson plans, handouts, infographics, and other educational content that can be used for free and without permission.
Advantages of OER
OERs are published under an open license, such as Creative Commons. This allows several key advantages:
Instructors can switch the format of materials with ease and without concern for the violation of copyright, these resources can be printed or remain in digital versions for students.
Instructors can Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute the materials freely without violating copyright.
OER use allows for cost savings for students when suitable OER can be located to replace course materials students pay for out of pocket.
Learn more about OER as well as past faculty education sessions held over the past two years: visit the Faculty Support OER Page.
See the impact of our current OER use at RRC Polytech in this 2-minute video: OER Impact Video.
Find support at the RRC Polytech Library to get started with OER: contact the Copyright Officer.
Planning for Fall? It’s a Great Time to Incorporate Our Supports
Spring is often the time to update course content and plan for fall, and it’s also a great time to incorporate supports offered by Library and Academic Services. In this article, we highlight popular ways we can help you and your students succeed at RRC Polytech. For future reference, we encourage you to bookmark our Faculty Support page which contains links to the complete range of services and supports we offer.
The Academic Success Centre and Library offer online in-class workshops for student cohorts at the request of faculty. Our suite of workshops includes Academic Skills, Writing Skills, Technology Literacy Skills, Library Instruction, and Copyright.
To request an in-class workshop, please click the links below:
The Academic Success Centre and Library have developed a suite of Hybrid LEARNing Modules. The purpose of these modules is to offer learning strategies and resources that faculty can share with their students to further develop foundational skills for success in their studies. The modules feature self-directed tutorials in LEARN and facilitated live sessions via Webex (or MS Teams).
While the ASC is primarily a student service unit, our staff have found that partnerships with faculty are the best way to support students. Partnerships can take many forms, including customized and embedded academic supports in programs, in-class workshops, diagnostic assessments, and the sharing of our learning resources.
The primary purpose of the Library’s collections is to support learning, instruction and research at RRC Polytech. If you have suggestions for a new title or resource to add to our collection, you may fill out the Suggest a Purchase form. Our subject specialists are available to discuss subject area gaps in the collection as well as Open Educational Resources (OER) options with you.
The Library’s Guides are curated lists of resources on specialized topics. We can help you find which guides are most relevant for your students or work with you to develop a new Guide to meet your needs. The benefits of Guides are far-reaching for both students and instructors. Below are a few success stories resulting from instructors utilizing Guides.
Also, you may be looking for information, either for your own research needs, course development, or course readings. Library staff are skilled at locating and referencing information, and it would be a pleasure to assist with that. To connect with a Library staff member, visit us in person or through our Ask Us chat during regular Library hours.
Copyright plays an important role when instructors are building content and creating course materials. Our P7 Policy provides guidance around copying but there is also a suite of library-directed copyright services to support and assist faculty in navigating copyright.
The Library’s Copyright Officer supports faculty with the following services:
Check your copying decisions against our policy using our self-serve Fair Dealing Tool.
A picture may be worth a thousand words but is it worth a copyright infringement?
While in some cases it may be fair for Research, Education and/or Private Study to copy images, it is important to remember that most images are protected by copyright.
Students and Instructors often use images as part of creating course content and completing assignments, in doing so they have a responsibility to act under copyright policy at RRC Polytech. In this day and age people are willing to legally debate who owns a money selfie. Check out the video for more details on how a monkey sparked debate in the copyright world.
The Good: There is a lot of content online intended to be reused.
The Bad: There is a lot of content that isn’t intended to be reused and legally requires permission, and/or payment if you want to use it.
The Ugly: It can be hard to tell what you can and can’t use and when you are getting yourself into copyright trouble.
How do we navigate copyright as students and educators when using images for education?
How do we know if we can use an image?
Open Images are images that have an open license such as Creative Commons or that have fallen into the Public Domain that others can use in their creative works and/or in support of education.
When an image is created it is automatically protected by copyright, the creator of the image is automatically the copyright holder of that work. Unless the copyright is transferred under an employment agreement or the image rights are sold. This means that unless image creators or rights holders specifically indicate that individuals are able to use their content only the image creator or rights holder themselves has the exclusive rights to distribute, reproduce, create a derivative work (creating a ppt presentation or digitally editing the image), telecommunicate, or publish the image.
Why do we need to know about Copyright when using images?
The current way copyright works images, inclusive of images on the internet, and google images, is that images (or any copyright materials) “belong” to the individuals, organizations, and companies that create or own them. In most cases legally you need to ask permission when you use them, OR use them by the terms and conditions, or licenses that the creator, company, or organization has expressed for use for the image.
Creative commons licenses are one way creators can offset the automatic “all rights reserved.” approach of copyright and give you a clear indication of permissible ways you can use the work, and that is why we encourage the use of Creative Commons materials in education.
Want more information on how Creative Commons works? Check out this video and Copy responsibly.
The last couple of years has seen a transformation in education and teaching techniques. The transition to largely online learning saw many educators quickly having to relearn how to deliver and rewrite their course content to match. Not all course materials and delivery methods transitioned easily to an online delivery model, and everyone had to work double-time developing new content, and searching out alternative materials. Throughout, Open Education Resource’s (OER’s) made this job easier, and lot more affordable, both institutionally, and for students.
OER’s. Applaud them. They are the real MVP’s. Going out there every day, offering themselves up to be reviewed, taken apart, and reassembled – within the limits of what their creative commons licenses stipulate, of course – all to meet so many different needs and applications, and asking almost nothing in return… well, maybe attribution (see how to use OER’s correctly.)
If you have never used an OER (as unlikely as that seems) find out about them today. It’s Open Education Week and there are lots of great open-access online resources to learn about and adopt. A great place to start learning about OER’s is the RRC Polytech Libraries OER Guide
OER’s come in all shapes and sizes, for every education level, but it is important to know where to find ones that are open access, copyright free, and fit your curricular needs.
In recognition of Open Education week, here is a list of just some of the many great OER resources available online.
When using OER’s, it’s important to know how to identify licenses and credit appropriately, but don’t let that intimidate you. You can easily learn all about creative commons licenses and how to use OER’s correctly.
Still feeling lost on how to use something you found online? Did you know that Red River College Polytech Library and Academic Services has a Copyright Officer? Ebony Novakowski, is your copyright expert on using all forms of media on LEARN, in presentations, and more! You can find out even more on the Libraries copyright page.
Artemis Hedrich Reference Technician Library and Academic Services, Information & Program Delivery Red River College Polytechnic
We find and interact with materials online everyday and most of that online content we interact with is protected by Copyright. “So much of our normal everyday behavior puts us at risk of infringing copyright, especially since so much of our life is digital.”[i] “The copyright regime cannot be considered fit for the digital age when millions of citizens are in daily breach of copyright, simply for shifting a piece of music or video from one device to another. People are confused about what is allowed and what is not with the risk that the law falls into disrepute.”[ii]
February 21 – 25th marks Fair Dealing week a time to highlight user rights, and promote the opportunities presented by the Fair Dealing provision of the Copyright act. During this week we aim to explain Fair Dealing and how it applies to our daily uses of copyright materials.
As part of Fair Dealing week the video guide to Fair Dealing posted above has been created. The the RRC Polytech Copyright officer. The video touches on the basics of exercising user rights in relation to Education, Private Study, and Research in the video.
How we engage with copyright materials matters. As students and educators are not only individuals who use content, but are also creators of content. Fair Dealing is the doctrine that balances the right of users and creators and allows the navigation of user and creator rights for innovation that benefits society at large.
The RRC Polytech Library is dedicated to helping students, faculty and staff, navigate our institutional copyright policy. We offer a Fair Dealing tool to help streamline policy navigation and help ensure copying is in accordance with our policy guidelines. If you need to make a copy check out this quiz based tool!
The library also hosts a suite of copyright support services to help inform staff and students toempower those within our college community to make copyright decisions that exercise their user rights and respect the rights of creators in accordance with our policy.
Copyright Officer Ebony Novakowski and Academic Integrity Specialist Lisa Vogt talk about their roles at RRC Polytech.
Ebony: Sometimes people ask me what the difference is between copyright and academic integrity. Does that happen to you?
Lisa: Yes, sometimes people wonder if our roles are essentially the same. I think our work is quite different, although there are points where we overlap. Why don’t you tell me what being a Copyright Officer is all about?
Ebony: Copyright literally means the “right to copy” and generally refers to the exclusive right to produce or reproduce a work, or any substantial part of one. In Canada this right is enshrined in the Copyright Act.
Being the Copyright Officer at RRC Polytech is about raising awareness of Copyright, helping our staff and students navigate our institutional Copyright Policies. This enables them to interact with copyright materials as users and creators of content within our guidelines at RRC Polytech. Lisa, can you tell me about your work in Academic Integrity?
Lisa: As an Academic Integrity Specialist, my goal is to strengthen our institutional culture for academic integrity. I create educational resources that draw from the six fundamental values of honesty, trust, respect, responsibility, fairness, and courage. Building on these values teaches students the importance of demonstrating their own knowledge, skills, and abilities, and enhances the quality of education at RRC Polytech. Academic integrity values established through post-secondary education pave the way for students to be more successful in their future professions.
Are the policies around academic integrity and copyright the same at RRC Polytech?
Lisa: The S4 Academic Integrity Policy outlines the expectations for academic integrity and the procedures to follow when academic integrity has been violated.
Ebony: Our policies around Copyright at RRC Polytech are informed by the Copyright Act of Canada and there is a lot of interesting copyright case law across Canada and globally regarding Copyright. For example, between 2011 and 2018, a series of disputes took place about the copyright status of “monkey selfies” taken by macaques who stole equipment belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater and photographed themselves. In April 2018, the US appeals court affirmed that animals cannot legally hold copyrights in the US. Lisa are there any laws that apply to Academic Integrity in Canada?
Lisa: First of all, the “monkey selfies” case you described is fascinating! This is a good demonstration of the difference in our work. When it comes to Academic Integrity Canadian students must follow the rules set by their school’s policies in order to continue as a student of that institution, as there are no laws governing academic integrity in Canada. Although, I can recall at least one Canadian case where the RCMP was called after a student sent an impersonator to write their exam. In contrast, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom have laws prohibiting the advertising and sale of completed academic work through services often called ‘essay mills.’
Where are points of overlap in copyright and academic integrity?
Ebony: Instructor resources, such as assignments, lesson plans, and slides are all Copyright material. Sharing these resources outside the context of your coursework, such as on a file sharing site, without express permission can violate the copyrights of the work as well as academic integrity. It is important to remember that instructor materials as well as traditionally published materials such as your textbook are Copyright works and subject to the Copyright Act of Canada as well as our copyright policies at RRC Polytech.
Lisa: Exactly! When students share their assignment files online, both you and I are concerned as the student is violating copyright AND creating opportunities for academic misconduct. Students who take someone else’s work and submit it as their own, violates the RRC Polytech S4 Academic Integrity policy. And, if an instructor finds their assignment or answers to an assignment have been shared publicly, they may request the removal these documents to maintain their copyright and reduce the risk for academic misconduct.
Another area of overlap is Open or Creative Commons materials. Researchers and practitioners in the academic integrity community often apply Creative Commons licenses to resources that can be shared. So when you and I connect, we usually talk about appropriate sharing of information – either materials that can be shared broadly or materials that should not have been shared broadly.
Ebony: Appropriate information sharing is important, it would be very difficult to learn anything without sharing information, what both our positions seek to do is ensure that when materials are shared this is done in an honest and legal manner that supports learning. That means respecting copyright law and academic integrity and being aware of our policies here at RRC Polytech. International Open Access Week is a time for the wider community to coordinate in taking action to make openness the default for research and to ensure that equity is at the center of this work. Open Access Week is from October 25th through the 31st.
Lisa: Exactly! As members of a learning community, we need to work together respectfully. We do this by completing our own work and giving credit for the source of ideas or materials that are not ours. Sharing becomes a problem if someone presents the work of another as if it were their own. This week, educators across Canada are recognizing Academic Integrity Week to promote academic integrity in post-secondary education.
What are some of the different services that are offered by the Copyright Officer and Academic Integrity Specialist?
Ebony: I conduct copyright outreach to faculty and provide Copyright Consultations for instructors and students who wish to use specific copyright materials. I can be booked by instructors for in class workshops on the basics of copyright and intellectual property for students. I can also assist instructors in finding open resources to use for teaching and instruction. Open or Creative Commons materials have less copyright restrictions which can serve both instructors and students who need to adapt and reuse materials.
Lisa: Supporting faculty and students in a learning environment that builds on the six fundamental values is the heart of my work. I offer a series of resources that instructors can use to integrate academic integrity into class discussions, including an interactive module and presentation slides. I also deliver workshops to support the development of academic integrity in classes. Instructors can request a consultation to determine the best approach or ask questions on what to do when academic misconduct is suspected. When academic misconduct occurs, I advise on how to respond so the learning process can continue for both student and instructor.
Ebony: More information on copyright please visit Library Copyright Page under Faculty Supports or contact me by e-mail with questions at any time. Instructors can also book me as a guest speaker for their class.