Documentation:Open UBC/Getting Started Guide for Instructors

From UBC Wiki

This is intended as an overview of the benefits and opportunities related to open practices in teaching and learning.

Why Open for Learning?

"4Cs of Open Learning" - Created by Cindy Underhill, CC by 3.0

Embedded within the values of the University is that UBC “supports scholarly pursuits that contribute to knowledge and understanding within and across disciplines, and seeks every opportunity to share them broadly” (UBC's Strategic Plan, Vision and Values). We have an opportunity as instructors and learners to benefit from open practice and explore new ways of teaching and learning in the open.

The 4 C's of Open Learning is one representation of what learners and faculty do and learn through the process of working in the open. These approaches help build web literacies - important for living, working and learning and conducting research in the world today.

Open approaches can enrich our teaching and connect learners with the wider community. Here’s how:

Building Connection Through Open Networks

  • Participate in a community of educators: Social networks and open projects offer opportunities for collaboration with other instructors on teaching and research projects.
  • Learn from others: Many educators appreciate the opportunity to learn from what others have done, to talk about what works and what doesn't, and to get new ideas for their own practice.
  • Connect learners with authentic audiences. This can range from students creating resources to be used by their peers to contributing resources to a community organization to contributing to knowledge by editing articles in Wikipedia. Arguably this approach can increase learning motivation and even achievement. Helping students learn how to engage with and navigate their way in online communities is an important piece of the learning.
  • Open opportunities: Having your teaching practice and materials accessible to people beyond your students can have unexpected benefits. It can lead to invitations to give presentations and open up leadership opportunities related to teaching and learning.

Curating Open Resources

  • Finding, selecting and reviewing open resources in the process of learning helps students learn how to discern relevance, quality and perspective - important skills in the development of information literacies.
  • Open resources allow for cost saving around course content (textbooks, course readings) and time saving for content creation (e.g videos, graphic material, etc.)
  • Open resources provide the opportunity for students to be introduced to real world examples, data sets and images which may not otherwise be accessible in a classroom (e.g. open materials such as NASA Open Data-sets and images).
  • Openly licensed resources (or those in the public domain) give you and your students options to reuse and remix materials in support of your learning and teaching goals.

Creating Open Resources

  • Develop a wider community of practice: For some, the motivation to share their teaching materials openly comes from the value they attach to being in a community of educators who share and discuss practices and materials related to teaching and learning.
  • Extend the value of your educational work: Creating open educational resources can be a way to extend the value of your educational work more widely
  • Increase opportunities for students to be involved in the creation of educational materials: Involving students directly in the creation of educational content encourages learners to “up their game” and stretch their skills to develop resources that will be immediately useful to their peers and beyond.

Contribution to the Knowledge Community

  • Encourage learners to make their work available for others to learn from and build on.
  • Help them learn about the options for open licensing and how to use and attribute the work of others - whose work, data and research they build on.
  • Provide opportunities for students to comment on the work of others - learning how to critique and provide feedback in a way that is respectful and contributes to furthering the work.

7 Ways to Get Started with Open Teaching

1. Include an assignment in your course to have students publish or share resources with a public audience. Support students editing wikipedia, create a group project on UBC wiki, contribute to a public or community resource, developing a resource for the community, or publish an open resource.

Examples: UBC's Food Science Course on Wikipedia; UBC's Linguistics Course on Wikipedia; UBC's Latin American Literature Project: Murder, Madness and Mayhem; UBC's Human Ecology - students' publicly shared projects (some openly licensed).
Get Started: Resources for Teaching with Wikipedia

2. Use open educational resources as content in your course. Find, curate and remix open educational resources in your courses and programs. Include open educational resources, open textbooks in your classroom where possible to reduce costs for learners and ensure access to necessary learning materials.

Examples: UBC First Year Physics course; Open Geography at UBC.
Get Started: BCCampus: Find, Reuse and Remix an Open Textbook; Rice University's Open Stax Project

3. Encourage networking beyond the classroom. Have students develop an open blog or portfolio to share beyond the classroom. Use a twitter hashtag to allow for the wider-community to join the classroom conversation.

Examples: UBC's Philosophy 102, UBC's Land, Food & Community 350 (core course) and student blog
Get Started: Get Started with Using Open Blogs (Arts ISIT Resource)

4. Have students openly review each other’s published work and invite members of the community to participate. Assess students using open ePortfolios, have students publish their work online using blogs or Wikis. Include open peer review and annotation tool such as Collaborative Learning Annotation System CLAS or PeerWise in your practice.

Get Started: UBC Open Badges, CLAS

5. Encourage students to use open research and open data for research: Encourage students to use data and research from open access and openly licensed journals.

Get Started: Open Collections from the UBC Library

6. Assess students on a learning resource that they create, publish and license for reuse. Have students create a learning object or guide for future classes or for the community.

Get Started: Open Licensing for Students - on

7. Openly license and share educational resources that you develop: Use services such as Creative Commons to openly licence your materials so that they can be used, reused and remixed by other faculties, programs or institutions.

Get Started: Open Licensing for Instructors - on

Resources and Tools



  • UBC Blogs: Is a open-publishing platform built on the WordPress system. UBC Blogs can be used to build a course website, allow group authoring on a blog, provide peer review of authored content (editing with comments). Get Started Using UBC Blogs. More about blogs for teaching.
  • UBC Wiki: The UBC Wiki is a shared space for use by students, staff, and faculty at the University of British Columbia. It serves as a course repository, a personal and collaborative work space, a documentation depository, and a growing guide to everything and anything UBC. Get Started Using the UBC Wiki. More about wikis for teaching.
  • Collaborative Annotation System (CLAS): Allows learners to engage with their peers around course content and become more independent in annotating, commenting and asking questions regarding course materials. Get started with CLAS
  • Youtube: Share and license instructional videos in the open. UBC YouTube Channel. Get Started with YouTube

If you would like to start using open practice in your teaching and learning course, program or initiative, please contact us,;