Today I am beginning a series of posts about the Open EdTech Collaborative (OpenETC). I’ve posted about OpenETC before, but as people settle into what is turning into a new realm for teaching and learning at post-secondary institutions in B.C. (not just pandemic panic, but the realization that teaching and learning online is viable and worth the investment in time, training, and resources) you should know that the OpenETC offers services and tools that can help you enhance your courses, as well as open them to the world. So, in this first post, I am going to re-introduce you to the OpenETC.

To lift the excellent description from their main site, the OpenETC is “a community of educators, technologists, and designers sharing their expertise to foster and support open infrastructure for the BC post-secondary sector. No contracts or agreements are required to join us, just a willingness and ability to actively participate in our collective endeavor to:

  • encourage technological autonomy and provide ways for students, faculty and institutions to own and control their own data.
  • lower the barrier to participation on the open web for BC faculty and students.
  • provide a more sustainable ed tech infrastructure to BC higher education that gives institutions more control over their tools.  Institutions are currently at the mercy of vendor pricing, upgrade cycles, and exit strategies.  This puts institutions at a certain degree of risk when there are changes to any of the variables beyond their control.  Open-source approaches reduce the risk to institutions in this regard.
  • assist BC faculty in evaluating and making informed pedagogical decisions around open-source teaching and learning applications.”

If you are associated with a post secondary institution in BC (faculty, staff, student), you can sign up for an Open ETC account and try out the tools they support, like WordPress, Sandstorm (a collection of open source applications) or Mattermost (an open-source messaging platform), which are hosted on BC servers, and thus FIPPA compliant. Make sure to review their Code of Conduct and Terms of Use (collaboratively created by the OpenETC community) before joining, and if you would like to become a more active member of the OpenETC community, you can join their Mattermost channel.

I’ll be talking more about their tools, as well as about the folks and institutions that support them, in subsequent posts. And just so you know, this blog, as well as our Camosun Tutorials site, is on the OpenETC WordPress instance!

If you work at Camosun College and want to know more about OpenETC and its tools (in particular, WordPress as we are beginning to point faculty to the OpenETC WordPress instance for their blogs and websites), contact Emily Schudel, instructional designer, eLearning (as well as an institutional lead for OpenETC) (schudele@camosun.ca).