Open Educational Resources (OER) 2021 Grant Projects

** This grant is offered in partnership between CLT and Dalhousie Libraries through the support of Dalhousie’s Strategic Initiative Funding

Winter 2023 Recipients


“Modularizing” the OER: Land & Property in Canada’s Political Economy

Recipient Dr. Jamie Baxter, Schulich School of Law
Amount $7000.00
Abstract Research on Open Education Resources (OER) in higher education has proposed that a significant barrier to the peer production, reuse and remixing of OER is a lack of modular design in OER content that enables discrete, small-scale contributions and customizations. This project will undertake the “modularization” of an existing OER used in a first-year property law course at Dalhousie to support real time, in-course learner co-creation and the broader reuse and remixing of the OER by teachers in other property law courses.

Finalizing a Student-Created OER: The Mental Health Promotion Primer


Lead: Taylor G. Hill (PhD candidate and limited term instructor)

Co-lead: Dr Becky Spencer (Senior Instructor)

Amount $3500.60
Abstract Consumers of most existing mental health-related textbooks are clinicians-in-training who need to learn about the services related to mental illness treatment. Recently, a paradigm shift has moved the conversation toward a more upstream promotion approach in which mental health is a resource to be promoted. Mental health promotion (MHP) is an emerging field that aims to better blend the theory and practice of health promotion pertaining to mental health, while filling the gap in allied disciplines that focused on negative mental health of individuals. Therefore, a mismatch exists between the needs of students and the content of existing mental health-related textbooks. This project will entail the latter end of the OER development, focused on moving the OER content from a Word document into Pressbooks, including components of design and reference and figure management, and be equipped tocontribute to the narrative surrounding the paradigm shift.

Fall 2021

Applied Ethics Primer: Responding to Feedback and Lessons Learned

Recipient Dr. Letitia Meynell, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Amount $3,000.91
Abstract In September 2021, we published a complete draft of our Applied Ethics Primer as an OER, This was made possible with support from the Centre for Learning and Teaching. Although we are confident that this text as it stands is complete, competent and, importantly, fills the pedagogical lacuna that inspired it—the lack of a brief, general primer on ethical reasoning and theory that is appropriate for an introductory applied ethics course but is not Eurocentric—there are still some outstanding problems with the primer. With the support of this grant, we hope to complete and polish some of the features of the text that are currently rough and ready, supplement the chapters with appropriate links and references to additional readings, correct some outstanding technical issues, and incorporate feedback from students and professors who have used the text and from expert audiences to which we will present the project.

Leading in Organizational Complexity and Management Skills Development

Recipient Dr. James R. Barker, Faculty of Management, Rowe School of Business
Amount $6,965.62

Today’s business leaders require practitioner-minded, complexity-driven knowledge resources easily and frequently updated. Yet these exceedingly useful resources are rarely available. Given the Rowe School’s MBA’s increasing enrollment and growing demand for local and regional impact, this proposed OER creates new potential for enhanced student engagement and community access to leading management practices.

The proposed OER creates a unique approach for integrating complexity theory with direct managerial applications. The project enhances delivery of multiple business courses within the School’s MBA program, incorporates new virtual student engagement methods, and provides a platform for greater community access.

This OER represents an interactive learning guide serving as both a textbook and a workbook with dynamic multimedia components, student collaboration activities, and content applications. Updated course material includes post-pandemic managerial adaptations; practical management skills to move forward complex initiatives; local community connections; and integrated development of leadership practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Research Data Management in the Canadian Context: A Guide for Practitioners and Learners

Recipients Dr. Mike Smit, Professor, School of Information Management
Lachlan MacLeod, Copyright and Research Data Management Coordinator, Dal Libraries
Amount $6,722.05
Abstract Research Data Management (RDM) has been a topic of growing interest in Canada and internationally. The Tri-Agencies 2021 launch of a national RDM policy highlights the need for RDM training in Canada. Librarian practitioners, LIS/IM students, and researchers are seeking up to date guidance on RDM practices, and instructors are looking for resources to support their teaching. While there are excellent resources in other countries, and Portage Network / Alliance RDM have fact sheets on Canadian resources, there is no guidebook or textbook to introduce learners and practitioners to the art and science of research data management in the Canadian context. This national collaborative project will leverage the expertise of Canadian librarians, data managers, and other experts to provide a comprehensive, bilingual, peer-reviewed academic educational resource. 

Mapping Learning Trajectories in Online Learning Environments: A Learning by Teaching Approach to Address Common Misconceptions in Introductory Programming


Project Lead:
Eric Poitras, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Computer Science

Angela Siegel, Senior Instructor and BACS Program Director, Faculty of Computer Science
Raghav Sampangi, Senior Instructor, Faculty of Computer Science
Alex Brodsky, University Teaching Fellow and Associate Dean of Academics (Acting), Faculty of Computer Science
Stephanie Bernier, Educational Developer,  Faculty of Computer Science

Amount $5,527.27
Abstract Trajectories towards competency in learning how to code must be first documented and then used within online learning environments to promote knowledge transitions. Recent developments in the computer science education research community have heightened the need for online learning environments that leverage curated inventories of common misconceptions that novice programmers have while learning to program. A central research question that the research team will address over the course of this project is how to computationally represent trajectories and transitions through series of units where novice programmers can learn while teaching a pedagogical agent that exhibits common misconceptions. The units were designed to supplement CSCI 1105 Introduction to Computer Programming course content, making explicit misunderstandings of concepts and control flow using virtual agents playing the role of tutee, while students playing the role of tutor learn by teaching the agent who transitions towards a more nuanced understanding.

Information in society: an open textbook

Recipients Dr. Philippe Mongeon, Assistant Professor, School of Information Management, Faculty of Management (Project Lead)
Samantha Taylor, Senior Instructor, Rowe School of Business, Faculty of Management (Co-Applicant)
Amount $6,872.05
Abstract The importance of information in society cannot be understated. Every Fall, a new cohort of students joining Dalhousie's School of Information Management explore the historical, sociological, political, legal and economic dimensions of information in society and their relationship with the information profession. This happens through a daunting dive into a multidisciplinary body of literature without a cohesive educational resource that brings together the different dimensions of the topic in a digestible format adapted to future information professionals trained at Dalhousie and across the globe. This is the gap that this project aims to fill with an open textbook on information in society. The book will provide a valuable educational resource to students at Dalhousie and worldwide and will also exemplify the values and principles of the information professions central to the textbook, the information field, and the kind of knowledge society to which we aspire.

Winter 2021

An Inclusive Applied Ethics Primer: A Global Approach to the Basics of Ethical Thinking

Dr. Letitia Meynell, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Amount: $3,601.09

Project Abstract

Every applied ethics course requires some brief introduction, survey, or primer on ethical theory. At the same time, spending too much time on normative ethical theory can take precious course time away from the applied issues that are the raison d’être of the course. A number of authors have developed ethics primers as part of textbooks but these tend to have two flaws. First, they tend to be specific to their applied ethics subdiscipline. Second, they tend to be Eurocentric.

In this project, I will complete a 20,000-25,000 word Applied Ethics Primer, which takes a global perspective and which could be integrated into any applied ethics course. I plan to publish this online through Dalhousie’s OER. I will also investigate the possibility of developing a companion resource that invites others to share case studies from different applied ethics subdisciplines, in effect, crowd sourcing teaching materials for applied ethics

Research Methods and Evidence-based Practice for Occupational Therapists

Dr. Sorayya Askari, Assistant Professor, School of Occupational Therapy, Faulty of Health
Amount: $4,801.46

Project Abstract

The audience of most existing research methodology textbooks are researchers who need to learn about the best study design that can answer their research question and how they can conduct a research study. Occupational Therapy (OT) is a practice-based profession that needs the therapist to engage in evidence-based practice. Therefore, the OT students need to gain skills to be able to locate the relevant evidence, critically appraise them, and inform their clinical practice based on the evidence. Currently, there is a mismatch between the needs of OT students and the content of existing research methods textbooks. The use of non-OT examples and the cost of these textbooks are of main reasons for OT students not to refer to these textbooks. Therefore, the goal of this project is to develop an open educational resource for OT students to serve as the textbook for research courses that can be freely accessed.

Canadian Business Communication for Success

Dr. Linda R. MacDonald, University Teaching Fellow, Rowe School of Business, Faculty of Management
Amount: $4,790.29

Project Abstract

This Business Communication OER prepares Commerce students for the verbal and written communication demands of the workplace. The  OER adapts two existing OERs, one on business communication and one on web literacy. The OER will supplement these works with originally developed material as well as student-written scenarios and writing samples. The new OER will address current issues in business communication including the use of pronouns in business writing, the use of land acknowledgments in presentations, and culturally sensitive vocabulary. The result will be an innovative textbook that addresses modern communication forms, practices inclusivity, incorporates the essential skills of web literacy, benefits from the experience of students in the field, and situates the work in a Canadian context.

Canadian Legal Research Skills: A Practical Approach

Hannah Steeves, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Sir James Dunn Law Library, Schulich School of Law
Amount: $4,900.84

Project Abstract

The Canadian Legal Research Skills: A Practical Approach addresses the foundational knowledge and practical skills required to conduct comprehensive legal research in the Canadian context. The subject matter includes a broad overview of the Canadian legal system, sources of Canadian law, the legal research process, and legal information literacy. The content is ideal for individuals who are new to legal research and educators in a variety of disciplines and settings. This Open Educational Resources (OER) includes embedded interactive and visual components such as practice questions, quizzes, and charts. As the body of common law evolves and secondary sources adapt to the digital environment, Canadian Legal Research Skills serves as an openly available and interactive “living” option in a constantly changing legal landscape. Canadian Legal Research Skills is updated regularly and is distributed using the Creative Commons Attributions ShareAlike 4.0 License.

Canadianization and Indigenization of Introduction to Psychology and Neuroscience

Dr. Leanne Stevens, University Teaching, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Faculty of Science Fellow
Dr. Jennifer Stamp, University Teaching Fellow, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Faculty of Science
Amount: $1,920.58

Project Abstract

In the spring of 2020, the Open textbook Introduction to Psychology & Neuroscience was successfully launched at Dalhousie. To date, the use of an open textbook in the Introduction to Psychology & Neuroscience program at Dal, has saved students more than $150,000 (approx.). Since its launch, we have sought feedback from students about the usability, quality, and course integration of the book. From student feedback, one area of concern has been repeatedly mentioned – the need for Canadian-centric examples and content. The current project aims to update and edit our textbook to include Canadian examples, contributions, and perspectives. Importantly, Indigenous voices have historically been absent from many Canadian Introduction to Psychology texts. We hope to (1) prioritize highlighting the contributions of Indigenous Peoples (specifically in Canada) in the fields of Psychology and Neuroscience, and (2) acknowledge injustices committed against Indigenous Peoples, within the context of the content covered in an Introductory course.