Conestoga news

March 1, 2024 12:15 PM

New open educational resources ‘ranger’ appointed at Conestoga

Conestoga has a new “OER ranger” to support the advancement of open educational resources (OER) at the college.

Dillon March.png
Dillon March is Conestoga's new OER Ranger who will work to promote open educational resources at the college.

Sponsored by eCampusOntario, OER Rangers form a network of educators and practitioners interested in supporting the advancement of open education within their institutions.

Conestoga’s new OER ranger is Interdisciplinary Studies faculty member Dillon March and he’ll focus on advancing open education at the college, including raising its profile on campus.

Open educational resources are any teaching and learning materials in the public domain or have been released under an open licence that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution with no or limited restrictions. They can be full courses, learning objects, tests or any other tools, materials or techniques for use in teaching, learning and research.

March is keen to raise awareness among other educators about this invaluable resource through eCampusOntario’s OER Ranger program, which includes 84 rangers from 46 institutions.

“They were really looking for people who were passionate about OERs, passionate about education, instructional design, who wanted to be the champions for their organization to enhance the adoption of open educational resources,” March said during a virtual presentation about his role. “I am really lucky that I work for Conestoga and of course we have such a great library with great resources.”

Conestoga is a member of eCampusOntario, a provincially funded, non-profit organization that leads a consortium of the province’s publicly funded colleges, universities and Indigenous institutes to develop and test online learning tools to advance the use of education technology and digital learning environments.

“What really attracted me about becoming a ranger was I am super passionate about making education accessible,” March said.

That’s also an important goal of the United Nations. In its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all member states in 2015, the UN included education in the 17 sustainable goals which are an urgent call to action for all countries with the goal of ending poverty and other deprivations. It urges nations to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

Typically, the rangers are tasked with launching open educational resources at their institution. But Conestoga is already well ahead of the curve and March’s mission will be to build upon that foundation and spread knowledge about this invaluable resource.

Conestoga was the top adopter of open educational resources among Ontario institutions by December 2023, according to eCampusOntario. However, that only accounts for faculty who have reported incorporating these materials into their course and likely the number is higher.

While March was already incorporating these resources in his classroom, he wanted to learn more about them including a better understanding of licensing terms which dictate how the materials can be used. Ranger training taught him how to master open education and now he’s even more eager to share that knowledge with other Conestoga instructors to help them feel empowered to use the resources too.

Conestoga is committed to expanding the use of open educational resources. Two search assistants are available to look up what is available for instructors to use, and hiring is underway to expand the number of instructional designers who can design and edit content.

“We want to create more champions. We want to create more awareness that this is a service we offer,” said Kimberlee Carter, an open educational resource consultant who manages the Open Learning team.

Open Education Week, held this year on March 4 to 8, is a global event celebrating open educational practices and resources and it will be marked with various activities at Conestoga.

Find out more about open learning at Conestoga at