Finding Comfort: Ancillary Resources in Digital Teaching and Learning
By now, you have probably settled into the idea of working remotely. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Ancillary resources are important tools to ‘bridge the learning gap.’
Working from the comfort of home might be downright uncomfortable. Perhaps you’re battling an unstable internet connection, a child who can’t find her ‘ice cream pants,’ a dog that won’t stop barking, or a spouse who made you some hot lunch even though you’re right in the middle of a three-hour lecture. If so, you’re certainly not alone.
But it goes deeper than just ‘human’ distractions. You might be struggling because you miss being on campus. Maybe you miss the in-person rapport you share with students and colleagues. You might feel strange talking to a screen or camera. Simply, you might just feel like you’re not doing as well as you’d like to because you’re out of touch with your ‘usual way’ of doing things.
Anyone can create ancillary resources. The author of an OER may choose to create some to live alongside an Open textbook. An OER adopter might choose to share some ancillaries created while teaching. And, if you’re a faculty member with some downtime, you can make ancillaries for any OER, too.
When creating this type of learning material, ask yourself the following questions:
Does it encourage students to engage with information in new or interactive ways?
Does it provide additional practice or guidance for students as they explore core concepts?
If I were learning this information for the first time, would it help me to better understand?
Ancillary resources are easily shared with students through digital avenues. They are compatible with a Learning Management System or faculty website. Otherwise, they are readily available for online access or download.
Similar to OERs, they are free for students to use. They also exist under open licences, so you have the same freedom to adapt an ancillary resource to better suit your teaching and learning needs, as you do with a full-scale OER.
In some cases – like with test banks – ancillary resources are restricted to faculty only. If this is the case, it will be clear when you click on the title of an OER in our collection. All you have to do to access these materials is fill out a request. This screening ensures academic integrity – after all, test banks are for honest learning and assessment purposes only, and not for students to engage in academic misconduct. This ‘middle step’ gives faculty access to materials with the understanding that they are not made widely available to students. Thus, they are meaningful, relevant assessment tools.
Keeping Engaged & Moving Forward
Much like with OERs, the creation of ancillary resources allows students to have a more active role in their learning. Because ancillary resources are ‘living documents’, students can have direct input into their effectiveness, style, and structure. Instructors can shape their resources to best suit student learning as a direct result of this engagement. What results is a community-driven approach to education.
In addition, ancillary resources breathe some life into online lectures on both sides of teaching and learning. For instructors, they are a way to differentiate course delivery through a virtual platform: it’s more than just talking to a camera. For students, they are tools to engage with and consolidate knowledge and information in more interactive ways.
Collaboration is at the heart of Open Education. Ancillary resources are, in a sense, a conversational tool for faculty from many academic walks of life, with many broad benefits to post-secondary education:
Increased faculty awareness of teaching and learning supplements;
Ongoing ‘dialogue’ between subject-area experts across North America about curricular goals and teaching/learning strategies through resource engagement;
Tangible commitment to expanding curriculum development with Open materials;
Accountability for best-practice teaching, particularly in digital classrooms, with iterative and interactive content.
While it takes time to adjust to new learning resources, ancillaries are sure to be a welcome addition to your digital teaching and learning. Whether you’re an Open rookie or a seasoned champion, know that you are on an important mission to advance teaching and learning in the province. Selecting an Open Educational Resource and accompanying ancillary materials will be beneficial for you as well as your students. Most importantly, moving to Open will bring you closer to that elbow-deep engagement with your work that you may be missing during these extraordinary times.
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.ca, setyourcourse.ca, and openedmb.ca.
Access to education is at the heart of everything we do.
Here are the ways we work to make learning accessible in Manitoba.
eCourses is your resource for online learning in Manitoba, providing flexible pathways for you to achieve your academic or career goals. With more than 1,200 courses to choose from, you can craft an education that works best for you. Our Virtual Help Desk is here to help you navigate through courses from across Manitoba’s post-secondary institutions.
Home to more than 300 open educational resources (OERs), the Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative provides support to help you (as a faculty member) review, adapt and adopt open textbooks. If you’re a student, browse our collection of open textbooks that you can read, download or print for free.
Set Your Course is your launchpad for a Manitoba-specific education or career information. Get the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your future; with career-planning tools, labour market information and links to Manitoba’s post-secondary institutions.
Campus Manitoba’s administrative office is located on Treaty 2 territory, with offices in Treaty 1 territory, the shared traditional lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Assiniboine, Dakota and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. Let this acknowledgement be an opening for us to learn more about the land we live on and envision a way to challenge racism, inequality and colonialism.