Open LIS lesson plan and resources: Understanding knowledge exchange

Mandy Choie
MLIS Graduate
UBC iSchool

Heather O’Brien
Associate Professor
UBC iSchool

Nick Ubels
Community Engagement Librarian
UBC Learning Exchange & Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Luanne Sinnamon
Associate Professor
UBC iSchool

A version of this post was originally published May 16, 2022 at OER + ScholComm. You can find it here

Community-university partnerships haven’t always been mutually beneficial. Information professionals, like librarians and archivists, have a critical role to play in making them more so.

To help prepare the next generation of information professionals for this work, we have created an open lesson plan, with supporting materials, for library and information instructors to use in courses focused on publishing practices, open access, and copyright. This lesson plan, or open education resource (OER), uses the Downtown Eastside Research Access Portal (DTES RAP or RAP) as a case study.

The RAP is a valuable learning environment for library and information science (LIS) students to think about how research is created and shared, and who has access to it. It is increasingly important to consider community members whose lives are directly impacted by research in order to holistically assess research impact. Information professionals have a critical role to play in the shift to broader, more inclusive and impactful approaches to scholarly communication [3]

Consisting of an Instructor’s Guide and accompanying series of slides with speaking notes, the OER emphasizes three themes:

  1. Principles and practices of community engagement for knowledge exchange;
  2. Meaningful access to research for non-academic audiences;
  3. Research ethics in historically marginalized and underrepresented communities.

The OER has a core module–Community-based knowledge exchange and mitigating information privilege–and three supporting modules:

  1. Information access and alternative formats;
  2. Supporting community-led research;
  3. Community engagement and services.

Instructors can “mix and match” content depending on available class time, course structure, and student interests. All modules include learning objectives, a wide selection of open access academic and professional articles, books, blogs, websites, videos and multimedia, and active learning activities for in-person or online delivery.

You can find our OER here via the DTES RAP.

While the DTES RAP is used as a case study, instructors can also use examples from their local contexts. The OER is a useful tool for infusing community perspectives in discussions of scholarly communication; promoting ethical, democratic research practices, and supporting (emerging) librarians working with diverse communities. We welcome feedback on the module as well as interest in connecting about the Making Research Accessible initiative. Please contact us by e-mail at

This OER was created with funding from the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is a hub of open teaching and learning content on scholarly communications topics.

The RAP is an online platform that makes research related to the Downtown Eastside (DTES) more accessible. A form of knowledge exchange, it was built by the University of British Columbia Library (UBC) and UBC Learning Exchange, with input from DTES community members. DTES community members identified this as an important priority due to the considerable attention it draws from researchers [1]. The RAP is one approach to combatting over-research,  enhancing reciprocity by sharing research findings more widely, and increasing meaningful research impact [2].

Works Cited:

  1. DTES Literacy Roundtable. (2017).  Strengthening literacy in the Downtown Eastside: Vision, goals and action plan of the DTES Literacy Roundtable.
  2. Boilevin, L., Chapman,…& Pham, S. (2019). Research 101: A manifesto for ethical research in the Downtown Eastside.
  3. De Forest, H., Freund, L., McCauley, A., O’Brien, H. L., & Smythe, S. (2019). Building infrastructures for university-community knowledge exchange: The role of information professionals and literacy educators. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS / Actes Du congrès Annuel De l’ACSI. DOI: