OERs and Classroom Conversations about History

This is the fourth post in a series featuring short descriptions of papers and panels that will be presented at the Canadian Historical Association’s annual meeting being held at the University of British Columbia June 3-5.

In most university curricula, conversations about our discipline begin in the first- and second-year classroom and are often profoundly shaped by our choices of textbooks and primary and secondary source readers. Many of these resources are costly for students, rigidly structured, and – according to some evidence – seldom used by our students.

Over the past five-to-ten years, greater efforts have been made to address these issues. In 2015, BCcampus published a two-volume open-access Canadian history textbook (click here for pre-Confederation and here for post-Confederation), authored by Thompson Rivers University historian John Belshaw. Last year, eCampusOntario supported a companion tutorial reader, Open History Seminar, edited by Sean Kheraj and Thomas Peace, a prototype of which is currently being used in a handful of classrooms across the country.

In this roundtable, John Belshaw, Amanda Coolidge (BCcampus), Sean Kheraj, and Thomas Peace discuss the promises and prospects for open educational resources (OER) in the history classroom. In addition to focusing on the nature of OERs, panelists highlight the gendered nature of textbook publishing in Canada, whereby most of the major textbooks (including these resources) have been authored by men.

The roundtable discussion will be followed by a workshop during which the panelists will work with participants as they learn the basic skills to build supplemental materials for these existing resources, such as additional chapters, useful assignments and exercises; in addition to learning about the resources available for creating new OERs for the history classroom in Canada. Participation in the workshop is limited to 30 people and requires registration (click here to register).

This panel is sponsored by the Active History Committee of the CHA.

For other examples of History-focused OERs check out:

This event will be held on Wednesday June 5 at 1:30 p.m. For more details about the CHA’s annual meeting consult the program here. If you would like to contribute a post to this series, please contact Tom Peace (tpeace@uwo.ca).

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