Advocate for Educational Resources There are so many high quality OERs available, and many professors are unaware of these accessible options! Use the email template below to advocate for OERs, feel free to make any changes to this template and add your own personal experiences with textbook expenses if you'd like! Your Email Professor Email Email Subject Letter BodyDear Professor [Professor’s name], I hope you’re doing well. I am emailing to express my support for the adoption or creation of Open Education Resources in your classrooms in the following semesters. The following outlines what OERs are, and why they align with UVic’s goals of equity and accessibility. Now, more than ever, post-secondary students in Canada are facing financial hardship. Many of us have lost our incomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while those of us who did not work have been left out of government subsidies like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. International students are especially vulnerable at this time due to their ineligibility for many of the government programs. Students are going to have to make some tough decisions in the coming months: whether to buy groceries or textbooks; going further into debt or putting our education on hold. The fastest and least expensive way for post-secondary institutions to reduce students’ financial barriers is to increase the usage of no- and low-cost course materials, including open educational resources (OERs). OERs are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. OERs are not limited to textbooks, and can take the form of workbooks, online teaching modules, articles, informational videos, and so on. Students from across British Columbia are calling on all post-secondary institutions to: Fund the creation and adoption of open educational resources for courses. Promote the usage of no- or low-cost course materials. Allow students to view which courses use no- or low- cost course materials when registering for courses. Many instructors at UVic have already made the shift towards OERs, saving students hundreds of thousands of dollars each semester and adding improved accessibility to post-secondary learning. Implementing OERs at UVic is also outlined as a preference when considering tenure applications. Other post-secondary institutions such as UBC and SFU are well into this transition as well. Affordability BC Campus, a provincially-funded organization that furthers the adoption of OERs, has saved students nearly $200 million dollars since 2012. During SFU’s pilot of their OER program in 2016, 10 courses received funding totalling $43,600 to create OERs, which saved students in those courses over $230,000. If we want UVic to remain competitive with other post-secondary institutions, we must ensure that students have the same opportunities as other institutions. Accessibility SFU Open Educational Resource Grants First Year Summary OERs improve the equity of learning experiences by providing multiple learning formats. Accessibility frameworks are paramount in its creation. Through adjustable text colours and sizes, audio features, including audio/textual descriptions of images, and interactive programming, OERs eliminate several common barriers to accessing the full breadth of educational materials. OERs are perceivable, operable, understandable and robust for all students including those with disabilities. They offer well organized content and descriptive web links that are easily accessible. Personalization OERs use a Creative Commons license, which allows users to share and adapt the content, as long as appropriate credit is given. Instructors can then adapt OERs to their individual teaching needs and update content live throughout the course as new research emerges. OERs give the opportunity for better representation of marginalized voices. Its unique personalization allows for the addition of unique perspectives through community-relevant case studies. Personalized learning allows students to engage in real world activities that promote content learning, set goals and monitor progress to reflect on their learning. How can you implement OERs in your classrooms? Contacting the UVic Libraries and perusing BCCampus’ open textbook collection is a good first step in determining what is already available for direct adoption or personalization. https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/openedresources/start/adopt-a-textbook/ Please reach out to the Director of Campaigns at the UVSS, Emily Lowan, at email@example.com, if you have any questions or want to continue the OER conversation. Thank you, [Your name] CAPTCHANameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.