Provincial Initiative

What was the Campus Alberta OER Initiative?

The Campus Alberta Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiative was a 3-year government funded initiative designed to:

assist with reducing the costs of a post-secondary education for students; and,
provide students and faculty members with the flexibility they need, offering updated, relevant content for learning.

In March 2013 the Alberta Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education entered a Memorandum of Understanding with British Columbia and Saskatchewan to collaborate on the development of common Open Education Resources within their respective advanced education sectors recognizing the benefits of sharing existing Open Educational Resources with a focus on mutual areas of interest. This MOU was foundational to the establishment of the Alberta OER Initiative. 

Alberta OER Initative reference documents:

Memorandum of Understanding (Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan: click here.
Program Evaluation submitted to Advanced Education by the Campus Alberta OER Steering Committee on April 3, 2017: click here. 
Environmental Scan submitted with the program evaluation: click here

Summary of all program administration and key documents spanning July 2014-2017: click here
To access OER created through the Campus Alberta OER Initiative, click here. This content is hosted by the BC Campus Open Textbook Library

Below is a list of projects funded by the ABOER Initiative from 2014-2017. 

To access resources created through the Campus Alberta OER Initiative, click here. This content is hosted by the BC Campus Open Textbook Library

Campus Alberta OER Initiative Steering Committee

This initiative is guided by a committee of experts including faculty, students, senior academic officers and other experts who champion open educational resources. 


Professor Rory McGreal
Athabasca University

Jason Dewling, PhD
Vice-President Academic and Research
Olds College

Ministry Lead:

Kenton Puttick
Manager, Strategic Planning and Program Integration
Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education
Government of Alberta
Initiative Team:

Krysta McNutt, PMP, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta (Program Manager)
Michelle Brailey, University of Alberta Libraries (Library Liaison)
Anwen Burk, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta (Instructional Design)
Erik Christiansen, Mount Royal University Library (Instructional Design)


Committee Members:

Dr. Janet Welch, Lethbridge College (Provincial Lead)
Russ Wilde, Bow Valley College
Genevieve Luthy, SAIT
Carol Shepstone, Mount Royal University 
Chelsey Reid, Medicine Hat College
Thomas Hickerson, University of Calgary
Luciano da Rosa dos Santos, University of Calgary
Chelsi Ryan, Keyano College (student representative) 
Alicia Lunz, University of Calgary (student representative) 

Why Campus Alberta OER?

The purpose is to provide publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Alberta the opportunity to apply for funding to support the assembly, use, development, implementation and evaluation of Open Education Resources (OERs) to support teaching, learning and research. There will be an expectation that projects be available or deposited into a provincial repository and available for broad viewing and use. 

Initiative Guiding Principles: 

Quality and opportunity for expansion of resources, effective practice and build a culture of awareness.
Sustainable approach for OER to be deposited into a provincial or other repository and available for broad viewing, downloading and use. 
Broad engagement from across Alberta is desired. 

Initiative Key Objectives: 

The Campus Alberta OER Grant Initiative is in response to the need to support affordability strategies for students that would decrease their costs of post-secondary education
Provide publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Alberta the opportunity to apply for funding to support the assembly, use, development, implementation and evaluation of open education resources in support of teaching learning and research.  This includes lesson plan, assessment packs and other forms of OER including textbooks.

Initiative Outcomes:

The Campus Alberta OER Initiative's grant selection process is aligned to the following intended Outcomes: 

Learner ImpactProjects will enhance learning experiences for Alberta post-secondary students by enabling them to access high quality open educational resources.
Cost-SavingsProjects will enhance students directly by offering them reduced-cost or free materials in lieu of for-profit commercial textbooks and other paid resources.
CollaborationProjects will support and facilitate collaboration between multiple publicly funded institutions in Alberta to foster strategic partnerships within Alberta and with other jurisdictions for the assembly, use, development, and assessment of OER. 
Enhance Awareness and Support for OER - Projects will help build a culture of support for OER through research, application and sharing of effective practices.  
Sustainability of OER in AlbertaSupport capacity development and ensure that a sustainable foundation to support OER initiatives is established.

Past Opportunities 

Adoption Pilots

Campus ABOER Adoption Pilot grants were awarded in May 2016.  Grant Guidelines are available here

Alberta institutions including 26 Campus Alberta Publicly Funded Institutions and 5 First Nations Colleges were encouraged to apply for up to $10,000 as contribution to an OER Adoption Pilot initiative on your campus in Fall 2016 that includes capacity building. This opportunity remained open from January 22 to April 30th.


The objective of the ABOER Initiative Adoption Pilot funding is to:

  • Replace paid resources resulting in cost-savings to students. 
  • Adopt and implement OERs in a course. 
  • Expose faculty and leadership to the benefits of OERs.
  • Leverage and increase awareness of existing institutional knowledge of OERs.
  • Collect Alberta specific data around the adoption of OERs in post secondary education.
  • Obtain feedback on the challenges and barriers to OER adoption.


Awareness - increase awareness of OERs at the institutional level, including their purpose and how to access, evaluate and use them.

Use - increase implementation/use of existing OERs into current, high enrolment courses.

Championship- educate on the value, impact and importance of OERs at the institutional level.

  1. Objectives of Awareness, Use and Championship must be demonstrated in the project plan.
  2. ABOER funds must be allocated to 75% efforts specific to adoption.
  3. 25% of ABOER funds may be allocated specifically to internal capacity building.
  4. Funding requested of ABOER Initiative must not exceed $10,000. Cost of the project may exceed this amount and be funded from other sources.
  5. Collaboration among institutions is encourage and increases the chance of funding. 

Expectations of Awarded Institutions:

  • Expenditure of ABOER funds must occur prior to December 31, 2016.
  • 20% of funding will be held pending final Adoption Pilot Report.
  • Challenges and lessons learned are sought and appreciated to support the development of best practices.
  • Low adoption metrics shall be supported with shared experience through best practices / recommendations.

  • Quarterly reporting (June, Sept, Dec)
  • Final project reporting, Dec 15, to include: 
    • Forecasted cost savings to students with regular measurement to this forecast.
    • Percentage of growth / adoption across campus (or select courses).
    • Lessons learned / recommendations; contribution to ABOER Toolkits.

Application Process:  

  1. Review the application rubric. 
  2. Submit application by April 30, 2016, 11:59pm MT
  3. Applications will be judged by the Campus ABOER Steering Committee, and final decisions confirmed by the Ministry upon the Steering Committee’s recommendation. Applicants may be asked for further information and/or to make a presentation.

Phase 2 Expressions of Interest  


Campus ABOER Initiative Phase 2 grants were awarded in May 2016.  Grant Guidelines are available here.

The Campus Alberta Open Educational Resources Initiative facilitated an Open Call for expressions of interest April and May 2016. The deadline to submit was May 4th.

The scope of the project proposed in the expression of interests ranged with the objective to increase use, awareness or capacity for open educational resources. Some concepts applicants were encouraged to consider included: workshop sprints to get subject matter experts together to create test items, creation of ancillary resources such as multimedia to support OERs or faculty fellows program for research and championship of OERs.

This open call allowed institutions to customize an OER project to further the open educational resources movement in Alberta while meeting their institutional readiness, and, provided valuable information to the initiative to further understand the provincial open education landscape.

    Application Process:  

    1. Submit expression of interest via online form
    2. Receive request for project proposal (with a 2 week turnaround time) 
    3. Applications will be judged by the Campus ABOER Steering Committee. Final decisions are confirmed by the Ministry upon the steering committee's recommendation. Applicants may be asked for further information and/or to make a presenation. 

    Phase 1 Expressions of Interest

    Campus ABOER Initiative Phase 1 grants were awarded in May 2015.  

    Phase 1 Grant Categories

    The projects supported through Phase 1 of Campus Alberta OER Initiative focused on the following three categories:


    The “Awareness” grant category intends to support the cultural change needed throughout institutions of Alberta to utilize and support OER provincially. 

    Content Development / OER Application

    The “Content” grant category intends to support the use of existing OER materials by supplementing current material with complimentary content. This includes test items and course wraps, lesson plans, presentations, etc. 


    The “Sustainability” grant category intends to support capacity development and ensure that a sustainable foundation to support OER initiatives is established. This includes technical infrastructure, institutional needs, etc. 

    Grant Success Criteria for Phase 1 projects included:  

    • Must not duplicate the purpose of Open Educational Resources available.
    • Must be Creative Commons Attribution licensed (CC-BY SA). 
    • Must explicitly demonstrate the value and cost-savings to the student and the educational system.  
    • Must demonstrate inter-departmental and/or inter-institutional collaboration.
    • Must meet one or more of the defined grant categories.

    Grant Selection Limitations: 

    It is not expected that any one grant proposal will exceed $200,000.
    Any steering committee member who is a grant proposal applicant or a member of an applicant team must recuse themselves from decision on their own proposal.  

    Application Process: 

    We encouraged applications from throughout the province of Alberta. Applicants were required to represent one of the 26 Campus Alberta institutions. Institutions partnering on a collaborative project increased chances of success. 

    Step 1: Attend an Info Session.  In December 2014, we facilitated live online info sessions. Recordings and other resources are available HERE. 
    Step 2: Expression of Interest.  The Expressions of Interest for Phase 1 deadline was January 16, 2015, 11:59pm. 

    As of February 27, 2015, successful Expression of Interest submissions were chosen to provide an in depth proposal to the committee for consideration of grant funding awards. All applicants received response from the committee and a subset were requested to submit a formal proposal.  

    Step 3: Proposals.  The Steering Committee reconvened at the end of January 2015 to review the submissions and establish the next stage of the process. 

    The deadline for Proposal Submissions was March 31, 2015, 11:59pm. Grant projects were awarded in April 2015.

    The Initiative would also like to recognize BC Campus as key collaborator in the development of Alberta OER sustainability and grant processes.