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Faculty in the Open: Julia Alards-Tomalin

Faculty in the Open regularly features BCIT faculty who engage in open education.

About Julia

Julia Alards-Tomalin is an instructor in the Renewable Resources department at BCIT. She teaches into the Forest and Natural Areas Management diploma and the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation diploma programs. Julia began creating and use Open Educational Resources (OER) in 2019 and has led and contributed to several projects. She has participated in delivering PD sessions on open education, has encouraged her BCIT colleagues to engage in open education, and works with colleagues beyond BCIT to share her expertise.

Julia Alards-Tomalin is the recipient of the inaugural Teaching Excellence in Open Education Employee Excellence Award. BCIT awards one faculty member per year with this prestigious award, intended to honour someone who exemplifies open education through their work, practices, and collaborations.

Life at BCIT

Julia was recently featured in BCIT’s Life at BCIT series. The Life at BCIT Series depicts moments in the lives of students and faculty each contributing uniquely to the richness and diversity of the BCIT community.

Life at BCIT: Natural Resources faculty partners with students to co-create an Open Educational Resource textbook

Julia Alards-TomalinIn her own words

I am very grateful and excited to be part of the OER movement and to be able to play a part in helping to make learning more accessible for all. I strongly believe that educators can make a difference and create change for the better, especially when we all work together. The OER movement has been an excellent way for educators to band together to create positive change these last ten years, and I am excited to see what we will continue to achieve together into the future.

Book cover for "Buds, Branches, and Bark" by Julia Alards-Tomalin and Alex Tait. 2nd Edition (2022). Photo of a stick held by a hand in front of a foggy forest was taken by Andrew Takacs.Open educational practices in action

My second OER was a textbook that I created collaboratively with my students titled Buds, Branches and Bark: A Guide to Winter ID in the Pacific Northwest. The students were instrumental in the creation of this book, as they helped to research and create the content as part of an assignment in my course. I have worked with four different groups of students now, and we have created identification pages for over 25 plants.

Watch Julia’s 2023 Food For Thought presentation about the book’s development: The collaborative creation of Buds, Branches and Bark: A Guide to Winter Identification in the Pacific Northwest, a BCIT OER textbook.