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Zed Cred/Z Degree Grants

Key Dates

Closing date for proposals: Friday June 16, 2017 11:59 PM PST

Successful submission notification date: Friday July 7, 2017

Grant recipient announcement date: Tuesday July 18, 2017

Open to faculty and staff from post-secondary institutions in British Columbia and Yukon.

Introduction

Since 2012 the Ministry of Advanced Education has funded the BC Open Textbook Project and tasked BCcampus with managing it. The goal of the BC Open Textbook Project is to provide flexible and affordable access to higher education learning resources in BC by making available openly licensed textbooks that align with the most highly enrolled first and second year undergraduate subject areas, as well as in selected skills training and trades subject areas.

In 2017, BCcampus will continue to advance the Province’s open, affordable education vision by working closely with BC’s higher education institutions to continue to build the BC Open Textbook collection. With the support of both the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Hewlett Foundation, BCcampus will distribute two grants (maximum $35,000.00) to BC Institutions committed to the development of a “Zed Cred” (Z Degree) Program. With the funds, Institutions will not only develop pathways to credential by adopting and adapting pre-existing OER, the funds may also be used to create new OER necessary for the program. The Institutions will also be required to package and publish their degree paths such that other Institutions from BC and beyond can borrow from their progress. Any learning materials created under the Zed Cred program will hold a Creative Commons BY license and must be fully editable. The programs chosen must demonstrate significant student savings and impact across the B.C. system.

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation defines open educational resources (OER) as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”

OER still retain their original copyright. However, the copyright owners explicitly allow the reuse of these materials by applying an open license to them. The most popular of these open licenses are Creative Commons licenses.

What is a Zed Cred (Z Degree) Program?

A Zed Cred/Z-Degree is a set of courses in a specific program area that allows a student to earn a credential, such as an associate degree or certificate program, with zero textbook costs by way of using open educational resources and/or free library materials.

What Success Looks Like

Successful Open Educational Resources Zed Cred/Z Degree implementations will empower faculty to lead the work, develop broad-based support across the institution for using open educational resources, and promote the benefits of enrolling in an open educational resources degree programs to students.

The process of developing an open educational resources degree will build institutional capacity for designing clearer and more efficient pathways to credentials and better connecting student learning outcomes to curriculum and pedagogy.

Expectations and Requirements of Selected Applicants

The following commitments and actions are expected of successful applicants:

  • Institutions will create cross-functional teams to oversee the work, with representation from faculty, instructional support services, library, student support services, institutional research, communications and other personnel from units of the Institution that will be affected by and/or can contribute to development of an open educational resources degree work.
  • Institutions will offer an open educational resources degree with at least one section of every required course taught with open educational resources in place of proprietary textbooks.
  • Institutions will commit to sharing educational materials developed through this project with the public, specifically by employing the latest version of the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY International 4.0), which permits the broadest use by others, subject to giving attribution to the creators of the works, and by ensuring that all content is technologically open so that others may reuse and repurpose it. All files will be provided to BCcampus in an editable format.

Application Process

Applications must include:

Criteria for successful proposals

Successful proposals will meet the following mandatory criteria:

  • must not exceed $35,000.00 funding request from BCcampus,
  • identify the proposed degree program as well as list of courses that will utilize OER,
  • include a signed letter from the Chief Academic Officer,
  • complete the OER degree development within two years,
  • document any existing Open Educational Resources to be used,
  • exhibit characteristics of quality teaching and learning,
  • demonstrate sustainability and cost-effectiveness,
  • demonstrate collaboration within a single institution and/or between two or more post secondary institutions,
  • include a signed letter of commitment to adopt the resources created by faculty in at least one other B.C. institution
  • be released with an open license, such as a Creative Commons license, which allows others to freely adapt, modify, copy and/or redistribute the content,
  • include a budget documenting the use of the funding being requested.

Preference will be given to proposals that;

  • impact large numbers of students across multiple institutions;
  • demonstrate collaboration with faculty in British Columbia, particularly within articulation committees;
  • include the provision of resources necessary to complete the project, such as the assistance of an instructional designer, multimedia developer, librarian, and editor. If the applicant uses available resources, it promotes more institutional buy-in to the project and thus the potential for more adoption.
  • reuse of existing openly-licensed materials created by B.C. faculty and institutional staff and stored in SOLR. To enable this reuse, only SOLR materials licensed using a full Creative Commons license are eligible (not BC Commons).
  • encourage the use of activities that embrace open pedagogies.

Project Requirements

For funding to be released, all resource grants must:

  • be released with an open license, such as a Creative Commons license, which allows others to freely adapt, modify, copy and/or redistribute the content,
  • be completed on time
  • include all source files used in creating the resource (including any multimedia files) to easily enable further remixing.

Review and Selection Process

Evaluation, selection, and awards are determined by an internal review committee against the Evaluation Criteria.

If you have any further questions, please email them to opentext@bccampus.ca.