Open Champions

In 2019 we’re continuing to highlight the hard work of Langara’s Open Champions – instructors and staff who work with Open Education Resources (OER) on campus.

Today’s Open Champion is Tyron Tsui, instructor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

An Open Champion is someone who advocates for Open sources at Langara. Open sources include Open Access (OA) and Open Educational Resources (OER). They are publicly accessible, free to use resources that can make course materials more affordable for students without compromising the quality of the resource. Instructors can also modify and adapt OER to meet their specific needs. We’ll be posting about Langara’s Open Champions over the next few months.

April’s Open Champion: 

Tyron TsuiDepartment of Physics & Astronomy

Tyron teaches several classes with Open Textbooks. He has been using the Astronomy OpenStax text since it came out in 2016. He has now used it in four sections beginning in the Winter term of 2017. He also uses OpenStax College Physics for Physics 1118, and OpenStax University Physics Volume 1 & 2 for Physics 1125.

Tyron likes the flexibility and accessibility of OER: “They are very accessible to me and students, and there is little to no cost for students. Being able to easily view online and/or print the resources helps students study and prepare in whichever way suits them best.”

Total Student Savings: $54,000 (calculated based on textbook previously used, $150 per student

Past Open Champions: 

Julian PriorEducational Technology 

Julian has been working as an Educational Technology Advisor at Langara since January 2016. One of the most enjoyable aspects of his role is working with colleagues in the Library, EdTech and TCDC on ‘growing open’ at Langara. His interest in open education dates back to 2010 when his Masters dissertation at the University of Bristol focused on some of the barriers and hurdles to OER adoption faced by faculty.

On why he supports OER, Julian says they are “the most visible aspect of a progressive move toward opening education. I wholeheartedly support this move and evidence suggests it provides a myriad of benefits to students, faculty, institutions and society at large.”

Lindsay TrippCopyright Librarian

Lindsay has been interested in the Open Education movement for a long time but officially became involved in 2016 when she helped form Open Langara, the College’s Open Ed Committee. One of Open Langara’s primary aims is to support instructors seeking to adopt, adapt, develop, and share OER and open pedagogical practices. On why she supports OER:

“I strongly believe that everyone should have access to affordable post-secondary education. Beyond the obvious cost-savings, I appreciate the freedom that OER afford instructors. Unlike traditional textbooks, OER allow instructors to revise and remix content to best support learning outcomes. In doing so, they promote a culture of sharing and collaboration. OER and the broader open education movement are encouraging us to reimagine education as we currently know it, which I find very exciting. The possibilities are endless!”

Richard WongDepartment of Physics & Astronomy

Richard teaches multiple courses using an open textbook, including PHYS 1118 (using the Openstax College Physics textbook) and PHYS 1101 (Openstax University Physics). He likes that “on top of giving students access to a quality textbook for free, the Openstax books offer a variety of ways to access the book – webview or downloading a PDF file. Open resources are not locked down behind password-protected logins, allowing students ready access on any internet-capable device”.

In the Physics Department, most instructors have been using an open textbook for PHYS 1118 for about 5 years. The Department teaches 10 sections a year and Richard himself has taught 7 sections using the open textbook.

Total student savings: $30,000 (calculated based on textbook previously used, $150 per student)

Bradley Hughes, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Bradley has used the College Physics (OpenStax) textbook in his PHYS 1118 course since Spring 2013, although the first open textbook he used was back in 2009. He has used an open textbook in over 33 sections of PHYS 1118!

On why Bradley uses OER: “I use open textbooks so that my students don’t have to pay for the waste and inefficiency of for-profit publishing corporations. The Creative Commons license allows them to download the book, view it on any device they choose, and/or print the entire book or just sections of it. All for free…I also take advantage of the Creative Commons license by adding one chapter from another book and using a version of another chapter that I re-wrote, keeping the original subject matter and example problems.”

Total student savings: $148,500 (calculated based on textbook previously used, $150 per student)

Shirley Wacowich-Sgarbi, Department of Chemistry

During the Summer 2018 semester, Shirley used existing in-house department material and published open textbooks to make an open textbook tailored to Langara’s specific needs. The textbook, ‘Introduction to Chemistry’, is being used for all Fall 2018 sections of CHEM 1114.

Shirley says that Chemistry instructors were interested in creating this new text because the existing in-house textbook was very brief, and they wanted something that was more thorough but less costly for students. The result is a textbook tailored exactly to the needs of the 1114 course that costs $21 for a hard copy and $0 for an electronic copy!

Total student savings: A typical chem textbook costs $100-200

Ivan Surjanovic, Langara School of Management 

Our second Open Champion is Ivan Surjanovic. He teaches in Business and Marketing, including BUSM 4850 where he has used the Open textbook ‘Mastering Strategic Management – 1st Canadian Edition’ since Fall 2016.

Ivan says he uses the textbook because it provides a good foundation of the key concepts, which he can supplement with other online resources when needed. The no-cost textbook also provides the opportunity for students to purchase other resources, such as online simulations, without having the added expense of a pricy textbook.

Total student savings: $30,394 (calculated based on textbook previously used, $167 per student)

Jeremy Chui, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Our first Open Champion is Jeremy Chiu, an instructor in the Mathematics and Statistics department. Jeremy has used an Open textbook in his Math1152 course since Spring 2017 and plans to use it again in Fall 2018.

On why he uses OER: “I was quite recently a student and remember how tough budgeting could be. College Algebra [an Open textbook] by Stitz and Zeager was a way to help students’ finances without compromising the quality of education.”

Total student savings: $20,140 (calculated based on textbook previously used, $106 per student)


If you are an instructor who is already working with Open sources, or if you would like more information on how you might start, please contact us:

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