Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance releases policy paper: “Open Educational Resources”

November 21st, 2017

Toronto, ON -  A policy paper released by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) this morning outlines the organization’s vision for Open Educational Resources - such as those available free through the Ontario Open Textbook Library. This paper captures students’ thoughts on OERs and explores how students feel the government can continue to expand on their recent initiatives with eCampusOntario.

The areas of focus in this paper on the emerging topic of OERs include: awareness, data collection, prioritization of resource development, standardized institutional infrastructure, and accessibility. Some key recommendations are the to make available the financial and infrastructural supports required for faculty members to develop, adopt, and review OERs. These funds should be prioritized for the development of textbooks that can apply to the largest entry-level classes in the province.

“Open Educational Resources will allow the Ontario government to support accessible learning for all students and will be one of the key factors in making post-secondary education affordable in Ontario,” said Landon Tulk, Vice-President at the University Students’ Council at Western University and author on the paper.

The widespread creation, adaptation, and adoption of OERs has the potential to save students in Ontario thousands, or even millions of dollars, as it has in other jurisdictions such as British Columbia. Students having access to course-relevant open textbooks removes a large financial barrier currently hindering student success.

"Since its inception, the OER paper has been a product of impassioned individuals who envision the future of post-secondary education, and how it may be enhanced through the undoubted wave of digitization. With their ability to increase financial accessibility, and quality of university education, OERs are of increasing importance for the provincial government to invest in,” said Victoria Lewarne, Academic Affairs Commissioner at the Queen’s University Alma Mater Society, and author on the paper. “However, it is important that these investments are made in stride with faculty supports to ensure these resources are utilized to their fullest potential. I am so thankful for my fellow authors, and all those who provided meaningful feedback at OUSA's General Assembly."

This paper was written by students from OUSA member associations and presented to the OUSA Fall General Assembly on October 29th for approval. To read the paper, please click here.

OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations a cross Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario. To achieve this vision we’ve come together to develop solutions to challenges facing higher education, build broad consensus for our policy options, and lobby government to implement them.

Deborah Lam                                                         
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
[email protected]