2019 Cascadia Open Education Summit wrap-up: 5 questions with the team

Carley McDougallBlogs, Conference Wrap Up

As strong advocates for open education, we’re always looking to learn more about how we can work to increase the use of open educational resources (OERs) in Manitoba and across the country. To help us increase our knowledge of OER trends in Canada and gather new ideas on how we can support students and faculty in the open education movement, our team recently attended the 2019 Cascadia Open Education Summit in Vancouver. Our own Kim Grenier Mintenko and Carley McDougall went to gather new ideas on how they can support students and faculty in our efforts to increase the use of open educational resources (OERs) in Manitoba and across the country.

Co-hosted by BCcampus, Lumen Learning, Open Oregon Educational Resources and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the cross-border collaboration offered OER advocates the opportunity to learn and share effective practices in awareness building, implementation, collaboration, strategy and research. We caught up with Kim and Carley to discover what most inspired them, what they learned and what changes they hope to implement in their work going forward.

Q: Who did you most enjoy hearing from?

Carley: I really enjoyed hearing from the students themselves — and learning how we can support student unions. I’m now thinking of ways we can support students by looking at open education through their lens. Speaker Aran Armutlu from the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS) was really interesting to talk to about creating policies and campaigns in support of OERs.

Heather Ross at the 2019 Open Education Summit
Heather Ross, Keynote speaker at 2019 Cascadia Open Education Summit.

Kim: Heather Ross, educational development specialist at the University of Saskatchewan, gave a keynote about her work with OERs. She talked about starting out with a single poster on a bulletin board and the progress that she and her university have made since then. She shared the failures as openly as the successes, reminding us that “The lessons of yesterday’s loss become the fuel for tomorrow’s success.” The tactics she shared were actionable and effective in gaining support from her institution’s administration and securing funding for OER creation and adaptation in Saskatchewan. It was evident that her passion and persistence were drivers of this success.

Q: What was one thing you learned?

Carley: It was nice to see how many people are in the same situation that we are; how many people are making the case for OERs, measuring the impact and trying to support faculties.

Kim: We were also introduced to some new resources that will be helpful for Campus Manitoba going forward, such as the Rebus Community and the OER Champion Playbook from Lumen Learning. Both of these resources are working to make open education more accessible for students, faculty and advocates.[CB1] 

Q: What was one thing that inspired you?

Funding announcement at 2019 Cascadia Open Education Summit
The crowd reacts to BCcampus receiving $3.26 million in funding.

Carley: We were excited when Melanie Mark, BC’s Minister of Advanced Education, announced $3.26 million in funding for BCcampus. It was inspiring to see how much momentum OERs have and how effective they are, and that the government is putting that kind of money into their continuation.

There were three strong women speaking that day: Melanie Mark, Heather Ross and Alice Guss, an Indigenous elder. There are a lot of women pushing for open access to education, and it shows a lot of power in that female authority role. Three powerful women are making education changes in different ways.

Q: What was one thing that moved or impacted you?

Kim: Several of the sessions I attended were put on by educators who shared their experiences using OERs and open pedagogical practices in their teaching. They described how it impacts their students’ lives, increases engagement, enhances the learning experience and contributes to a growing body of publicly-shared knowledge. They’re the believers, they’re the champions.

Q: What is one thing you hope to see going forward?

Carley: I would like to start working more closely with student unions to see how we can move the needle that way and see what kind of impact they can have. I’d like to work on gaining a better understanding of how we can support faculty as well.

Kim: What I would like to see going forward is greater support for OERs within institutions in Manitoba. When there is an institutional policy in place, there’s support from administration, and that creates an environment for growth.


Campus Manitoba is a consortium of Manitoba’s public universities and colleges. Through collaborative projects and shared services, we facilitate student mobility and expand access to post-secondary programs for students in Manitoba. In addition to campusmanitoba.ca, our websites include ecoursesmb.casetyourcourse.ca, and openedmb.ca.