Dania Tomlinson

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Library Services
Email: dania.tomlinson@ubc.ca


OER Grant Funded Project Spotlight: Fostering best practices in reproducible analyses across the biology curriculum

Project title: Fostering best practices in reproducible analyses across the biology curriculum
Project lead: Jason Pither (UBCO Faculty, Biology)
Project team: Mathew Vis-Dunbar (Librarian), Clerissa Copeland (BSc Hons.), Sharon Hanna (Support Analyst)

Background on the Open Educational Resource (OER) project.
Using the biology program as a pilot venue, the team is building open educational resources (OERs) that will support the development and application of reproducible lab assignment/experiment workflows by students, and through web-based, interactive network diagrams, highlight how biology courses across the curriculum are connected through common learning outcomes, particularly those related to study designs, statistical analyses, and workflows.

The connections will include short vignettes that will describe the nature of the connection and reinforce the focal learning outcomes, and provide common pitfalls (related to the topic) and their solutions relative to reproducibility. All materials used in the development of reproducible lab assignments and network mapping, including all outputs from these, will be made openly available for others to draw upon.

Why go Open?
A fundamental tenet of the scientific method is replicability: research protocols and outcomes should be fully replicable by independent researchers. In reality, the majority of scientific research cannot be replicated due to a combination of insufficient transparency and openness, poor study design, and flawed statistical analyses.

Efforts to address this “reproducibility crisis” are gaining momentum through the “open science” (OS) movement, but these efforts rarely target training undergraduate students. This is a missed opportunity as graduates of science programs could help push the culture change that is required to solve the reproducibility crisis, and ultimately make the science upon which public policy is based more sound.

The OER grant is helping the team to introduce, in a meaningful and connected way, practices and theories in scientific reproducibility, transparency, and rigour. Further, it is an opportunity to demonstrate similar approaches to the development of tools to support teaching and learning.

Project Impact for UBCO Students, Staff, and Faculty?
These resources will help to build discrete connections about core concepts, allowing students to clearly see how activities and processes in one class or lab are revisited and built upon in other classes and lab, providing a window into the undergraduate biology program in its entirety. This will also allow instructors and lab managers to harmonize their content, approach, assignments, and terminology across the program.

Additionally, it offers up, at the program level, the opportunity to learn not just how to do a given task in science, but an emphasis that is routinely reinforced, on the underlying principles of the scientific method, preparing them either as better future researchers, or engaged citizens with strong scientific literacies to inform how they engage in daily life.

Advice from the team for those considering OERs
It can be challenging to think of these classroom resources becoming living entities requiring continual updates, potentially in a collaborative manner, and the amount of time and effort one needs to invest for these to be successful. Grants like these OER grants are allowing us to tackle this in small, manageable chunks. We recognize that a key to success is to select a set of priorities to pick away at as opposed to having to re-imagine the full learning experience and the role of OERs in that experience overnight or in the scope of a single term.

Being able to co-develop classroom learning materials with students who have or are taking those courses provides invaluable insights into how content is interpreted by our learners. It’s an amazing learning opportunity for everyone involved, and has the potential, through release of these materials as OERs, to get undergraduate students building an academic CV.

Learn more
Learn more about the Open Educational Resources Grant Program and other grant funded OER project spotlights:
Context-Embedded Guided-Inquiry Learning Modules for Large Introductory Chemistry Courses
Introducing Ainu Content to Japanese Language Students

OER Grant Funded Project: SPOTLIGHT Introducing Ainu Content to Japanese Language Students

Project title: Introducing Ainu Content to Japanese Language Students
Project Lead:  Nina Langton (UBCO Faculty)
Project team: Mayu Takasaki (UBCO Lecturer) and Saki Irie (UBCO Student)

Background on the Open Educational Resource (OER) project.
The Ainu are the Indigenous people of Japan, but many students of the Japanese language are not aware of their existence. As a way of contributing to the university’s commitment to engage in reconciliation by promoting knowledge of Indigenous cultures and histories, the aim of this project is to introduce and deepen students’ awareness of Ainu history, culture and oral traditions, both past and present. The OER Grant provides an opportunity to jump-start, in a concrete way, Nina Langton’s intention to indigenize the Japanese language curriculum and share those efforts with not only students, but other educators as well.

These materials will include level-appropriate reading selections on Ainu history (particularly since colonization), descriptions of traditional and current culture and lifestyle, as well as interactive learning activities to accompany the readings. Although making culturally sensitive materials using unmediated Ainu voices in challenging, a network of Ainu artists and teachers have been providing some helpful guidance on this project.

Project Impact
These materials will provide the opportunity for students to reflect on both the negative impact of colonialism within Japan and the revitalization of the vibrant Ainu culture. In addition, the goal of this project is for students to gain an awareness of and respect for the diversity of peoples within Japan, instead of seeing contemporary Japan only as a homogeneous culture.

This OER project will include materials adapted and created with Creative Commons Open Licenses so that other Japanese language instructors can use them to add Indigenous content to their own classes.

Advice from the project lead for those considering OERs
Although it may feel a little scary to put something out into the world and not be able to control how someone else might use it, contributing to creative collaboration is very satisfying.

Going through the university guidelines for creating OER materials has made me more aware of the importance of accessibility and the concept of Universal Design, which is not only valuable for this OER project, but for teaching and for creating learning materials in general.

In addition, I’ve gained greater appreciation for the challenges involved in creating original material and for the benefits of making that material freely available.

Explore more:
Learn more about the Open Educational Resources Grant Program and other grant funded OER project spotlights.

OER Grant Funded Project: SPOTLIGHT Context-Embedded Guided-Inquiry Learning Modules for Large Introductory Chemistry Courses

Project title: Context-Embedded Guided-Inquiry Learning Modules for Large Introductory Chemistry Courses

Project team: W. Stephen McNeil, Tamara K. Freeman, Riley J. Petillion

Background on the Open Educational Resource project.
UBC Okanagan chemistry professors Dr. McNeil and Dr. Freeman and PhD student Riley J. Petillion developed a series of guided-inquiry learning modules for use as small-group activities in large introductory chemistry classes. These activities are designed to reinforce content-based cognitive outcomes and to develop affective outcomes involving learner attitudes and beliefs regarding the roles of chemistry in society. Students are guided through a series of prompts requiring application of concepts from multiple course topics within the context of a societal issue or problem.

Student feedback on earlier iterations of these learning activities suggests that they are largely achieving their intended goals; however, the current form demands initial assimilation of large amounts of written information, detracting from the active learning experience in the classroom

The goal of the OER project is to undertake a revision of each of these learning resource modules in order to create a final, publicly-available resource to be released on multiple platforms in an editable format.

Project Impact
Since these learning resources are being used in courses at UBC Okanagan, students are already benefiting from zero-cost educational instructional videos and learning activities. However, this project is serving as the impetus to finalize revisions and provide these learning activities with an improved structure. This is an initial step in a longer-term plan to develop and utilize OER with the eventual goal of replacing the current use of textbooks for the first-year chemistry courses at UBCO. The learning activities being developed in this project will form a significant part of the total course package.

Advice from this team for those considering OERs
If you expect that a learning resource will be utilized as OER, consider that during its initial development and creation. The intended audience is not just your own students in your own class, but students in many different educational contexts. This means that your resources cannot rely on, make use of content from, or refer to information in any other specific textbook or other resource.

Learn more about the Open Educational Resources Grant Program and other grant funded OER projects.

UBCO Library is hiring a Project Records Manager to work alongside Records Manager and Archivist Paige Hohmann. One of their responsibilities will be the oversight of a portion of UBCO’s digital records governance projects. The objective of this program is to reorganize a campus unit’s shared drive to bring it in line with electronic records management best practices. This program has proven to be so popular that the demand warrants expanding it! We hope that the Project Records Manager role will increase records management capacity this summer. If your unit is considering a digital governance project, get in touch with Stephanie.plumb@ubc.ca for more details!

Records Storage Open. Image of the Commons building in the background

The Records Storage program, located within Okanagan Special Collections on the bottom floor of the Commons, is operational. Staff are regularly on campus and can accommodate any box transfers or access requests you have, though they will be subject to some special safety considerations due to Covid. They have also officiated the new records management database O’Neil for more efficient tracking of your box transactions.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to process a box transfer or access your records in storage! See the updated website for all forms, instructions and safety protocols.
Records Storage Program

The beginning of a new fiscal year has arrived, and the records management team wants to remind you that now is a good time to catch up on your records housekeeping. Is there a filing cabinet that no one has cleaned out in recent memory? Now is a great time to do some weeding. Are there records that haven’t met their retention stacking up in a forgotten corner of the office? Email Stephanie.plumb@ubc.ca for guidance on how to box records and have them delivered to the ORMO’s storage vault.

The Okanagan Records Management Program will oversee an annual shred day in May, where all boxes of records in our program for which retention has expired will be marked for destruction. Don’t worry – we are careful to get permission from department heads before putting any box into the shred queue.

We would love to hear from you with any questions or comments you may have!

Records Management Services

Library catalogue freeze scheduled for April 30 to May 10

Due to an upgrade to the Library’s catalogue, users will not be able to renew or recall materials or pay fines starting Friday April 30, 2021 at 1 p.m. Full service is expected to resume May 10, 2021 at 7 a.m.

Users who have UBC cards will be able to:

  • Order materials through the Materials Pick-up service
  • Continue to access electronic resources through the Library catalogue

Users will not be able to:

  • Renew materials
  • Place recalls
  • Pay fines
  • Access their MyAccount

Users without an active account by April 30 will not have their account activated until after May 10.

Please note that users will not incur fines for books due during this period.

For assistance, please contact the library at libquestions.ok@ubc.ca

We apologize for any inconvenience as we work to improve your experience with UBC Library systems.

T'anchay Redvers and Joshua Whitehead January 14
Authors in conversation:
T’áncháy Redvers and Joshua Whitehead

The UBC Okanagan Library is pleased to present a unique online author event celebrating the diversity of literature created by and for Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer people on January 14. This event features writers and creators T’áncháy Redvers and Joshua Whitehead in conversation.

Learn more

Any time zone. Any Country. Any Subject. Your Library is supporting. you wherever you are. Image of globe. UBC Okanagan Library

Need Sources?

Your CWL gives you access to online articles and ebooks in the UBC Library collection. In addition, you can use the Library Access Browser Extension to access materials anytime, anywhere.

Have Citation or Search Questions?

Get search and citation help by emailing libquestions.ok@ubc.ca or connect instantly through AskAway chat. You can also find answers to your citation questions in our Citation Style Guides.

Need more in-depth research support?

Contact your Subject Librarian any time through the Ask your Librarian form.

Call for applications. Open Educational Resources Grant. provost.ok.ubc.ca/awards-funding/oer/ Apply by Nov 27. UBC Okanagan Campus


The UBC Okanagan Open Educational Resources Grant pilot program provides funding and support to UBC Okanagan faculty who wish to adapt or create open educational resources. Open Educational Resources (OER) are any teaching and learning materials that are made available to others to use without cost, and with an open license that allows for their reuse, revision, and redistribution. OERs may include open textbooks, lesson plans, quizzes and test banks, videos, animation, and simulations, class handouts, interactive activities and tools, and presentations.

Application Deadline: November 27, 2020

Learn more