Presidential Update - January 2018
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In light of recent events, sexual violence prevention and response has been at the forefront of our national discussions, sparking the need for meaningful action and policy to address the persistence of sexual assault in our communities, workplaces, and schools. The conversation today is louder than ever, and rightly so, as it has been long overdue. The need to address and combat the pervasiveness of gender-based violence has been an ongoing challenge, and historically, student unions have played a critical role in addressing sexual violence on Canadian campuses. From efforts to combat rape culture and stigma to demanding adequate sexual violence policies on their campuses, students play a significant part in building a world free of sexual violence.
On February 6th the University of Waterloo’s Board of Governors approved a predictable tuition framework for the 2018/2019 cohort of international students. This framework outlines plans to cap tuition increases at 5% from years 2 to 4, providing international students with the opportunity to budget accordingly and have a better understanding of their future academic costs. For this cohort of students, they will have a significant financial advantage over the rest of their international peers in post-secondary education: predictability.
Happy February everyone!
Last month, we ran our #TextbookBroke campaign to raise awareness around the benefits of open educational resources (OERs). Thank you to everyone who participated. We look forward to sharing your stories - they will not go unnoticed. We encourage everyone to continue the conversation on the benefits of OERs. Continue to talk with your instructors and peers. Continue to share your stories.
For university students, the beginning of the winter semester is usually accompanied by feelings of anticipation and a fresh start. With the holidays behind us and midterm season quickly approaching, students are also looking forward to welcoming the warmer weather and taking some time off to enjoy the long awaited summer break. For many students in Ontario, this time of the school year is also exciting because it involves campaigning and student government elections, an important and unique university experience.
One of the strengths of post-secondary education in Ontario is the level of autonomy devolved to our publicly assisted institutions. This system encourages innovation, experimentation, and structural diversity within our universities. But these benefits come at a cost.
As our #TextbookBroke campaign comes to a close this week, it’s reminded all of us how large a role textbooks play in post-secondary education. If you haven’t taken a look at the campaign on social media - I encourage you to check it out! Here at OUSA, we’ve been glued to our screens watching tweets roll in that emphasize why a campaign like this is important. There’s students that talk about wanting to spend their textbook money on rent and groceries, but also many students that talk about their need for fitness, healthier food options, and proper winter clothing. Now that so many students have shared their personal stories, I’ve had the opportunity to think back about my experience with textbooks when I was a student.
This month I’ve had the opportunity to return to a difficult, but necessary, topic of discussion as OUSA launched our #TextBookBroke campaign. The price of textbooks, and the financial burden, stress, and barrier to access expensive course materials places on students, is a persistent issue for those attending post-secondary institutions in Ontario. OUSA’s campaign shed light on this, and also encouraged the development of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in Ontario as a way to combat these issues.
With the release of our #TextbookBroke campaign we’ve seen stories from students all across Ontario on how the cost of textbooks are greatly affecting their educational experiences. The stories have been centered on the costs of textbooks and how students could have spent their textbook money on essentials such as groceries and rent. I’m going to focus on something a little different and try and bring to light OTHER ways Open Educational Resources (OERs) can help students succeed.
Last week OUSA launched our #TextbookBroke campaign and the uptake on social media has been phenomenal. Students have been sharing their struggles with the high cost of course materials and explaining what they could have spent that money on instead, including rent and groceries. Reading the tweets and messages from students across the province has led me to reflect on my undergraduate experience, and to think about the impact that Open Educational Resources (OERs) could have had on me during my university studies.
Welcome to 2018!
We hit the ground running this term with the #TextbookBroke campaign. With some inspiration from our friends in British Columbia and Alberta, we are running this campaign to increase awareness about the burdensome cost of learning resources, and the alternatives available, such as open textbooks! Earlier this year, eCampusOntario launched an Open Textbook Library, housing over 200 open resources for instructors to adopt and adapt. Through initiatives such as tweeting out receipts and writing letters to faculty, students are making instructors aware of these resources.