UBC Philosophy Professors Named OER Champions

Three UBC Philosophy professors — Drs. Jonathan Ichikawa, Dave Gilbert, and Christina Hendricks — were recently recognized for their efforts to champion the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) at UBC. Named “OER Champions” at an event hosted by UBC’s Alma Mater Society, each of these professors was nominated by students and members of the UBC community for their commitment to creating equitable and accessible learning experiences within higher education.

Much of Dr. Ichikawa’s work in this area has centered on the creation of forall x: UBC edition, an open-access logic textbook (based on P.D. Magnus’s forall x). In the preface to the first edition, Dr. Ichikawa lists saving students money as one of his primary motivators for completing the project, saying: “If you have a hundred students a year, requiring them each to buy a $50 textbook takes $5,000 out of students’ pockets each year. If you teach with this or another free book instead, you’ll save your students $50,000 over ten years. It can be sort of annoying to switch textbooks if you’re used to something already. But is staying the course worth $50,000 of your students’ money?”

Dr. Gilbert, who uses Dr. Ichikawa’s forall x: UBC edition to teach one of his introductory logic courses, is currently in the process of converting the text into an interactive webpage with a built-in homework system. To make this happen, Dr. Gilbert is making use of another free-to-use educational resource: Carnap. This online tool for teaching and learning formal logic allows “educators to create interactive exercises and teaching materials, and for students to get quick and helpful feedback as they learn…“. By bringing together Carnap and forall x, Dr. Gilbert hopes to save students money on both textbooks and homework software and to create more opportunities for independent study within the realm of logic.

While Dr. Hendricks also draws upon OER in her teaching, her impact as an “OER Champion” has perhaps been most felt through her advocacy work. She was involved in the development stages of one of the first Textbook Broke Campaigns at UBC– helping to connect UBC students with Textbook Broke organizers from other universities. With those same UBC students, Dr. Hendricks helped advocate for the inclusion of OER in the SAC Guide to Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure — making it clear that Educational Leadership-stream Faculty at UBC can count the creation of OER toward the Educational Leadership requirements of their work. What’s more, working alongside the AMS, Dr. Hendricks received a grant to create Open Case Studies, a repository of open case studies written by faculty, staff, and/or students which can be used in teaching and learning. In addition to her advocacy work, Dr. Hendricks is also the series editor for an upcoming collection of nine open textbooks covering the core concepts in Western philosophy, as well as other traditions. The first of this series, Introduction to Philosophy of Mind, was published in September.

For more information about OER at UBC, including a complete list of UBC’s OER Champions, please check out the Open UBC website.