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Open Access

On this page, you can read more about the stories or experiences that VIU faculty would like to share about using Open Educational Resources (OERs) in their classes. All interviews were conducted via email with interested faculty:

  • Stephanie Boychuk

Stephanie Boychuk

Stephanie Boychuk is chair and instructor as part of the Adult Basic Education program at VIU. 

Why do you choose to use OERs in your classes?

OERs are a small step towards making education accessible to all learners. Money should never be the limiting factor when someone wants to pursue their passion or change their life. I remember adding up the costs of my textbooks as a student and trying to get by with borrowed or out-of-date materials. I hope that my students never have to experience those feelings of being behind before they even have a chance to start.

To me, choosing OERs means I am prioritizing my students’ learning. These resources are flexible, and many are fully accessible. OERs allow me to pick and choose amongst a variety of textbooks and resources to find what will best fit my students’ needs, without creating a financial burden.

When did you decide that the use of OERs was right for your students?

As soon as I heard about the open textbook project through BCcampus I was excited by the chance to use those materials in my classes. When I started teaching at VIU ABE 5 years ago there was already a suggested open book, and since then new books have come out that are higher quality and more readable for students.

The book I have used for Biology 067 (Biology 12) was written by Christine Miller at TRU. When I saw her present the book to our articulation group a few years ago I knew it was the right fit for my students. It brings in Indigenous knowledge respectfully and purposefully. It is also easy to read and contains many extra elements like interactives and videos to enhance and support the text.

How have OERs supported student learning in your courses?

The open textbooks I use are media-rich. I appreciate having books that support students who take in information in different ways. These books have videos, interactive glossaries and activities, and reviews to support more ways of interacting with the material. Even for students with learning preferences for one mode or another, having options supports their learning.

Additionally, I am working on making sure the open textbooks I use are available as print-on-demand through the VIU Campus Store. Some of our students do not have reliable internet at home and having the option of a lower cost hard copy book alongside the online version increases the book’s usefulness dramatically.

What would you like colleagues to know about OERs?

OERs are one small way we as educators can support our students and overcome challenges associated with some commercial publishing companies. In my opinion, any flaws in OERs are balanced by the access and flexibility they provide. In the last 5 years I have seen the quality of OERs improve dramatically, thanks to the work of BCcampus and many passionate educators.

I would also like to let my colleagues know there is a community of educators using OERs out there – you are not alone in this journey! I’ve been lucky enough to connect with folks through BCcampus, ETUG, ABE Articulation, and CIEL workshops.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Stephanie! Learn more about Stephanie and their contact information.

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