D4.4 Options Brief Pack for Canada

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Type of outcome / product / results: Paper (public)

Delivery date: September 2013

Nature: Report

Language versions: English

Target languages: English and French

Options briefs packs on proposed policies will be prepared in English (with French Executive Summary) for:

  • Canada

As with D4.3, the options brief pack will have a general introduction, a section for schools, a section for universities and a brief section on other sectors (colleges, CEGEP, etc). The detailed structure will be consistent with the structure of relevant ministries in Canada and its provinces. Furthermore, the language of this document will be consistent with the terms and concepts that Canada's education policies are conceived within.


From the Introduction

This report focuses on the status of Open Educational Resource (OER) policies and activity in Canadian government and higher education institutions. Because education is a provincial responsibility, there is no federal government strategy to support OER. There is activity at the provincial level in Western Canada. Outside western Canada, there are few signs of significant OER-related activity across Canadian governments, institutions or industry.

Although the federal government has no responsibility for education, national initiatives are possible through provincial collaboration. One such collaboration was the unanimous endorsement of the UNESCO (Paris) Declaration on OER by the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada (CMEC). This endorsement has played an important role in the growing support for OER across Canada and has been instrumental in establishing OER initiatives in western Canada. Additionally, the federal government has initiated an Open Data pilot project, and open licencing has also been supported by Creative Commons Canada. The Tri-Council group of federally financed research funding agencies have agreed on a common open access policy, and a growing number of Canadian institutions (six in western Canada and one in Ontario) are joining the OER universitas initiative.

The most important development in Canada for the open movement in 2014 was the tri-province Memorandum of Understanding on Open Educational Resources, through which British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan have agreed to cooperate on the development of common OER. Following from this MOU, the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology, influenced by BCcampus and in collaboration with post-secondary institutions, has announced an open textbook initiative. Saskatchewan has also begun work on open textbooks. The Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education and Innovation has pledged funding for a grant program to support the development of OER by public post-secondary institutions. On the other hand, Ontario and Quebec have emphasized the management and protection of ownership and copyright for learning objects; recently, Quebec has shown renewed interest in "des ressources éducatives libres" (REL=OER).

At the institutional level, BCcampus is arguably the most active collaborative Canadian organization in OER and the leader in Canada in promoting their use. BCcampus is implementing the British Columbia Open Textbook Project and licences a course program for open access, though largely restricted to British Columbia only. There is significant OER activity at Athabasca University (AU), which was the first (and to date, only) university in Canada to join the OpenCourseware Consortium, has licenced courses and modules for open use, and has an open access press and policies for research publications. In Ontario, OCAD U's Inclusive Design Research Centre for software development has made broad, international use of OER through its Flexible Learning for Open Education (FLOE) initiative. Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and Contact North have made initial attempts towards development of OER; TRU, as with AU, has a robust prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) system, key to partnering with national and international OER initiatives.

Canadian institutions are involved in diverse activities around digital resources, but these are not necessarily OER initiatives. Western Canadian provinces have begun to establish an international OER presence that is being watched by the other provinces and territories.

The reports

For the full report (in English) see File:POERUP D4.4.EN Options brief pack Canada.pdf.

For an Executive Summary in French see File:POERUP D4.4.FR Options brief pack Canada Executive summary French.pdf

Related reports

See D4.3 Options Brief Pack (per key country) for options brief packs on seven countries/nations in the EU.