Introducing the Langara Open Student Scholar Prize

In partnership with Open Langara and the Langara Institutional Repository (The LaIR), this term the Library is pleased to announce the first Open Student Scholar Prize. This prize celebrates the exemplary work being done by our students and offers them an opportunity to share their work in an Open format.

The February 10 to March 6 submission period includes Open Education Week, a global event that raises awareness of practices that encourage open sharing and improved access to scholarship. Langara students engage in many forms of scholarship across all disciplines each term as they complete assignments and course work. We hope to help give their projects life beyond the classroom by making them available to the Langara community and beyond in the LaIR. The LaIR captures unique output from Langara faculty and students in a digital format, and provides a space to share and store scholarly production, from essays to art.

While students can submit their own work to the prize contest, we are asking faculty members who are interested to nominate exemplary projects from their own classes. Nomination by a faculty member will be a bonus category in eligibility criteria for submissions. Nominated projects can be from group or individual assignments, but the students must be currently enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester, and projects cannot be more than two years old (Spring 2018 term cut off).

If you are an instructor interested in nominating student work from one of your classes, simply contact the student and let them know you endorse their submission, should they choose to enter the contest, and provide this link to more info and the entry form:


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$1,240,856 in open textbook savings! Where’d you get that number?

Open textbooks have saved Langara students an estimated $1,240,856 since 2013. This makes Langara the heaviest user of open textbooks amongst all B.C. colleges and universities.

$1,240,856 is a significant figure. You might be wondering: Where does it come from? The College’s Open Education Advisory Committee, Open Langara, began recording open textbook adoption data in collaboration with BCcampus in earnest in 2017. To calculate cost savings, BCcampus employs a formula commonly used within the open education community: The price of the commercial textbook previously used in the class multiplied by the total number of students currently enrolled in the class. So, if BUSM 4850 previously used a textbook that cost $100 and there are 100 students enrolled in four sections of the course, the total cost savings is $10,000.

A number of multi-section Langara courses now use an open textbook universally (i.e. across all sections)–BUSM 4850, CHEM 1114, CHEM 1118, CHEM 1120, MATH 1152, NUTR 1100, and PHYS 1118, among them. These form the foundation of the data we compile each semester.

The Langara Bookstore has become an indispensable partner in identifying new open textbook adoptions, thanks to its established communication channels with instructors. The ‘open’ nature of open educational resources (OER) makes use difficult to track. Every semester, Bookstore staff reach out to Langara instructors to see which textbook they are using. When they learn that an instructor has given up a commercial textbook in favour of an open textbook, they share this information with Open Langara and note the adoption in the Book List Tool for students.

Langara’s open textbook data is not without its weaknesses. It assumes that every student enrolled in a class would have purchased a new copy of the required textbook. (Let’s be honest – this is highly unlikely!) It also fails to account for the fact that some students use a single textbook for multiple classes. For example, students enrolled in CHEM 1118, 1120, 1220, and 1154 previously used the same commercial textbook.

In spite of these shortcomings, open textbook adoption data illustrates an important trend in education –namely, that instructors are embracing open educational resources in greater numbers than ever before. In the spring 2020 semester alone, forty-nine Langara classes listed an open textbook as the required course text.

Beyond impressive cost savings for students, OER have pedagogical benefits. Unlike commercial textbooks, which are protected by traditional copyright, open textbooks are openly licensed. Open licenses allow educators to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute content (popularly referred to as the 5 Rs of Open) without payment or permission from the copyright owner. This allowed Langara NUTR 1100 instructors to incorporate Canadian data into an open Nutrition textbook authored in the U.S.

Recording open textbook adoption data also allows BCcampus and other open education partners to form communities of practice. For instance, Digital Marketing is a fast-changing field. BCcampus can leverage the collective expertise of instructors using an open textbook like eMarketing: The Essential Guide to Online Marketing to ensure currency and facilitate development of ancillary resources (powerpoint slide decks, question banks, etc). As the saying goes, many hands make light work.

For more information, including a visualization of Langara’s open textbook data, visit Langara’s open education website or contact Open Langara at

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Problem playing Kanopy videos on Citrix machines

There is a known issue with playing Kanopy videos on campus Citrix machines. Until a solution is found by IT, instructors should make alternative plans for showing Kanopy videos on Citrix machines (such as playing the videos on a connected laptop). Kanopy appears to be the only collection with temporary Citrix compatibility issues, so videos from other Library collections (e.g. Curio, NFB) should play fine.

Kanopy videos should work on non-Citrix machines, on and off campus. We recommend playing all videos via the Chrome browser.

If you have questions or problems playing Kanopy videos on Citrix machines, please contact

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New video collection: Arctic: Land of Change

Arctic collection logoA new collection from the Canadian Museum of Nature invites you to discover how knowledge of Arctic biodiversity can provide clues to better understand climate change and its impacts.

Highlights from this collection include:

Algae in the ice and climate change

Algae diagram

Biologist Michel Poulin describes the importance of the “lungs of the ocean” – tiny algae and phytoplankton that drive the food chain in the Arctic.

Clues to climate change in Arctic lakes and rivers

Clues image
Biologist and diatom expert Paul Hamilton finds clues about climate change by studying tiny life forms in the Arctic’s lakes and rivers. Hamilton talks about his work examining microscopic life in the Arctic.

You can explore the full collection by visiting

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Bringing the Library into Brightspace

woman sitting in a library using an iphone

The Library website is home to a wide variety of material designed to assist students with their research, writing, and other assignments. Last year we adopted a new platform with features that allow us to create engaging online learning resources that can be integrated into Brightspace.  Instructors can now embed assignment guides, citation guides, and writing centre handouts directly into their Brightspace course modules. Choose between an entire assignment or citation guide or bring in just a single page of relevant content.

Embedded content opens inside the Brightspace environment. Students are able to navigate through an entire citation guide, assignment guide, or writing centre handout and then go right back to the course module. For single web pages, such as a tutoring schedule or citation example, embedding significantly reduces the number of clicks necessary to reach the information. The connection is dynamic so any updates made by the library are reflected immediately in the embedded content.

Instructors can embed as much content as they like into one or more modules of any course. If your class doesn’t have a library instruction session there are still many pages that might be helpful to students, especially for mixed mode or web-based courses, and instructors don’t need to ask permission from the library to embed content.

Library web pages that you can embed include:

  • Assignment guides for a specific course
  • Subject guides
  • Subject specific list of databases
  • Subject tutoring schedules
  • Citation guides (APA, MLA, Chicago)
  • Writing Centre schedule
  • Writing Centre handouts

Our subject librarians are happy to help anyone who would like more information or some in-person assistance with embedding library material into their courses. We also have a step-by-step guide on our website as well as in a downloadable Word Document.


List of all content available for embedding

How to embed content into Brightspace online guide

Find Your Subject Librarian

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Learning Skills for Students: A Learning Strategist Pilot

What is a learning strategist?

Taking notes, planning your assignment and studying for an exam – these skills are probably second nature to you.  For some students, though, these learning skills pose a particular challenge.  A learning strategist, also known as a learning specialist, is a professional who can help students develop these academic and other related executive functioning skills including prioritizing and staying on task.

How do students access a learning strategist?

Learning strategist programs are available in many Canadian colleges and universities with a range of models. Typically, they offer one-on-one consultations between students and the learning strategist to work on set goals and skills.   However, learning strategists may also work with students in group settings and/or with faculty in curriculum design.  Priority is often given to students who are academically at-risk and/or registered with accessibility services.

What’s happening at Langara

With one time funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, the Learning Strategist Pilot Working Group launched a pilot at Langara between Oct 2018 and May 2019.  The goal was to assess the need for a learning strategist program at Langara with a focus on building longer term capacity beyond the pilot.

Over the course of the pilot, the Working Group contracted a consultant team with a learning strategist to conduct an environmental scan and limited one-on-one learning strategist sessions. Conscious efforts was made to recruit students with disabilities and/or from academic at-risk groups.

The top areas needing support as identified by the participants were:

Time management Study and exam taking skills
Procrastination Self care

The most frequently identified goals as set by the participants also reflect these areas of needs. In practice, the learning strategist always focused on individual self-identified goals when working with participants.

Pre-post responses suggest that the students’ confidence, self-efficacy and academic success improved as a direct result of participation.   Here are some sample feedback from participants:

“My grades have gone up since the semester started, and I was able to eliminate the major stressors in my school life”

“Greater ability to judge time needed for assignments. Greater ability to schedule smaller chunks of study time.”

“[The learning strategist] really did help me take a stressful semester and turn it around completely…..I am finishing on a very positive note, with grades I am proud of and feeling reading and prepared going into finals.”

With another one time grant from the Ministry, the Learning Strategist pilot has been renewed from June 2019 to April 2020. In addition to the continuation of one-on-one sessions, this pilot hopes to assess best practices in referrals from the classroom and other support areas.  A recent addition to the pilot is a study to evaluate the role of a learning strategist in the Return to Learning Course to support students on suspension.

For more information, contact Daryl Smith ( or Joyce Wong ( Co-chairs of the Learning Strategist Pilot Working Group.

Other members of the Learning Strategist Pilot Working Group include: Teresa Brooks (International Education), Kaveh Farrokh (Counselling), Suzanne Munson (Accessibility Services), Reba Noel (Student Engagement), and Rick Ouellet (Indigenous Services and Education).

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Book Library Instruction for Spring 2020!

A fresh decade approaches and with it a new opportunity to add library instruction to your syllabus this year!

Here in the library, we have been working to make the process for requesting library instruction more streamlined and give faculty a more comprehensive view of what kinds of workshops, tutorials, and services you and your students can access.

New for Spring 2020!

  • Request Library Instruction Form – avoid sending emails back and forth with your subject librarian by filling in our new Request Library Instruction Form here:
  • Information Literacy Instruction at Langara Library – View more information about all of our information literacy options on our new informational web page here:
  • Comprehensive information about the Online Tutorials – This new comprehensive guide about the online tutorials gives you more insight into the content of the library tutorials as well as a series of FAQs for faculty and students.

To find out more about Information Literacy Instruction at Langara, feel free to get in touch with your subject librarian or the Library Instruction Team!

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Light Therapy Lamps at the Library














This month we continue to highlight some of the great resources the Langara Library has to offer beyond books, featuring our light therapy lamps.

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Langara Library is here for you, no bones about it!


October is Canadian Library Month, dedicated to raising awareness of the important roles libraries play in their communities, especially through the unique services and resources they provide beyond traditionally-imagined book collections. Our own Library and Learning Commons is no exception, and we have several items in our collection that may surprise you! October seemed like a fitting month to highlight two in particular as it is also Halloween:

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New streaming video resource: BBC Channel now available in

Langara recently added the BBC Documentaries channel to our subscription. These wide ranging streaming videos from the BBC delve into international history, social justice, earth and space science, medicine, animal behaviour, technology and more. Here are some series to get you started! Continue reading

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