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Campus Life - Kamloops  

BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education: Natasha Ramroop Singh

This article was originally published in BCcampus.

The BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education is bestowed monthly. The award recipient this February is Natasha Ramroop Singh, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

Singh is recognized for her significant contributions to open education, as author and avid adopter of open textbooks in the subject areas of chemistry, genetics and biochemistry. Her efforts have resulted in annual savings of over $50,000 for students. Singh promotes the adoption of open educational resources (OER), serving as a member of the TRU Open Education Working Group, collaborating with the newly minted TRU Open Press, advocating for OER within her faculty.

Natasha Ramroop Singh

Natasha Ramroop Singh

Since 2019, Singh has been an assistant teaching professor in the Biological Sciences Department. She teaches approximately 300 students each academic year, covering introductory biology, biochemistry and genetics in courses ranging from first to fourth year.

Singh’s work on open textbooks aligns with her role as a content expert and course developer for TRU Open Learning. She revised three TRU courses by creating and adapting open textbooks — BIOL 2341: Introduction to Genetics, BIOL 1113: Principles of Biology I and CHEM 1503: Chemical Bonding and Organic Chemistry. In February 2023, Singh published Introduction to Genetics, an open textbook featuring videos, practice questions and interactive H5P activities. This textbook was created with the support of a TRU OER Development Grant. In the same year, Singh created two open textbook adaptations: Chemical Bonding and Organic Chemistry and Introduction to Biology. All three of her open textbook projects have been part of the Zero Textbook Cost initiative at TRU.

Singh is currently collaborating with TRU Open Press to develop a series of 20 videos entitled, Essential Chemistry for Biologists: Decoding the Language of Life, in which the characteristics of life are explored at the meso and micro levels. These lightboard videos are designed to support entry-level students in learning important chemistry concepts necessary to successfully navigate the first few semesters of biology. Each video will be accompanied by an H5P activity with practice questions, which will help to reinforce students’ learning as they check their comprehension.

Since 2021, Singh has presented at the Open Education Talks event (previously called Open Pedagogy Talks) co-hosted by the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and Thompson Rivers University. She has also participated in panel presentations during Open Education Week, sharing her experiences identifying suitable open resources and adopting and creating OER for her courses. In March, Singh will speak at the 2024 Open Education Talks, giving a presentation called, “Improving Success and Retention of Entry Level University Biological Sciences Students Through Creation of Open Videos Supporting Basic Chemistry Education.”

Singh believes in empowering students to co-create OER to enhance learning and foster community in the classroom. With appropriate support and guidance from instructors, students can produce excellent materials that can be used by their peers and future cohorts to enhance learning and improve learning outcomes. Singh has applied for several grants at TRU to support student co-creation of OER to encourage the creation of media by students, for students, like the TRU Biology Genetics Students YouTube channel.

Quote

“It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside Natasha Ramroop Singh, who developed the ground-breaking open educational resource textbook project, Introduction to Genetics. Her unwavering dedication to open pedagogy and resources, combined with her relentless commitment to excellence and student success, has truly set her apart as a visionary leader in education.

“As Natasha’s copy editor on Introduction to Genetics, I was consistently impressed by her expert knowledge, meticulous attention to detail and tireless work ethic. Her passion for creating accessible and innovative learning materials was evident in every aspect of the project. Moreover, her pleasant demeanour and collaborative spirit made the editing process an absolute pleasure. What truly sets Natasha apart is her insatiable thirst for learning and her willingness to explore new and exciting formats for educational resources. Her organization, expertise, drive and boundless energy are truly inspiring, and I have no doubt that her continued work in developing open educational resources will have a profound impact on the future of education. I eagerly anticipate seeing her present and future endeavours unfold!”

—Danielle Collins, manager, TRU Open Press Publication



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