Open Education

This month, our guest editors from the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), Christina Hendricks, academic director; Lucas Wright, senior educational consultant; and Will Engle, strategist of open education initiatives, have curated the first part of this edition where they will be exploring open education.

Open education traces its roots to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, which states that “everyone has a right to education.” The seminal 2007 Cape Town Open Education Declaration emphasizes that open education and the use of open educational resources (OER) contribute to “making education more accessible, especially where money for learning materials is scarce. They also nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need.” Open resources provide users with free and perpetual permission, through an open copyright licence, to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the resources.

Open education, at a practical level, can mean using and sharing open content, resources, and educational practices that can be built on, modified, or re-used by others. It can also be about engaging students as creators of knowledge and connecting with communities and networks by sharing works in progress and building upon the work of others. UBC faculty, students and staff have a history of engaging with a broad range of open educational activities including the adaptation, creation and use of OER, the open sharing of their teaching practices, and the adoption of open pedagogies and practices. UBC Vancouver recently launched an OER Fund to support affordable and inclusive access to learning materials through the use of OER. To learn more, attend an OER workshop or consulting session at UBCV.

Open Education, Open Questions

Catherine Cronin introduces several aspects of open education while unpacking some of the complexity in the term. Cronin offers a critical perspective that moves beyond advocating for open practices and shares ways that faculty, staff and students can better navigate the tensions between openness and privacy and support open education in a way that is mindful of these tensions and complexities.
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Open Pedagogy

Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani explore the concept of open pedagogy. They suggest the concept is connected to many teaching and learning theories that predate open education. Yet, it is also newly energized by its relationship to OER and the broader ecosystem of open scholarship. They argue that the potential of open pedagogy as a guiding praxis arises from the merger of OER advocacy with pedagogical approaches that focus on collaboration, connection, diversity, democracy, and critical assessments of educational tools and structures.
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The OER Review Project

What are the outcomes of using OER? This review project, led by John Hilton III, provides an updated summary of all known empirical research on the impacts of OER adoption. Hilton’s 2019 published synthesis of studies suggest students achieve the same or better learning outcomes when using OER over commercial textbooks and save significant amounts of money. The results also indicate that the majority of faculty and students who have used OER had a positive experience and would use them again.
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A Social Justice Framework for Understanding Open Educational Resources and Practices in the Global South

Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams and Henry Trotter adapt a framework from Nancy Fraser’s view of social justice that applies to uses of OER and open educational practices (OEP). Through it, they evaluate whether and how OER and OEP address injustices in the economic, cultural and political spheres. Specifically, the authors draw on data from the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development project (studying OER in the global south) and consider how OER or OEP as interventions in injustice can be neutral or negative, ameliorative, or more deeply transformative.
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Enjoyed reading about Open Education? Learn about other topics we covered in the October 2019 edition by reading the complete Edubytes newsletter. To view past issues, visit the Edubytes archive.

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