On November 09-13, 2020, seven students sponsored by the Students’ Union joined hundreds of students, faculty, and advocates from around the world at the Open Education Conference.

Open Education is a global movement to make education more affordable and accessible by reducing legal, financial, and technical barriers. One key area of Open Education is Open Educational Resources (OER). These are textbooks or course materials with open copyright licenses that make them FREE and easily accessible for students and allow faculty to revise or remix them to best suit the courses they teach. Win-win! The Students’ Union has worked with other stakeholders on campus to improve access to OER at TRU for many years.

“Sponsoring student participation in the Open Education Conference connects our work for affordable education to an international community with the same goals,” said Cole Hickson, President of the Students’ Union, “We want our members to benefit from the enormous expertise and experience of this community to help continue to make an impact here.”

The conference celebrates the core values of accessibility, affordability, equity and inclusion. Students attended sessions on topics including: advocating for OER and removing barriers, Indigenous voices, inclusion, and anti-racism in educational materials, and students as (co-) creators of educational materials.

“We were also fortunate to learn from student and faculty advocates about ‘automatic textbook billing’,” Hickson concluded, “which is another approach to reducing the cost of course materials that has gained popularity in the US and is also being explored at TRU.”

The Students’ Union remains committed to open education and addressing the burden of course materials as a significant educational cost. Find out more about what we have done here. Stay tuned for more information here.