Decolonization, diversity, and inclusion are themes that have emerged in Open in recent years and represent an important shift in the discourse around open practices. Our session – which will include onsite and virtual participants – will use liberating structures to critically examine open practices (that by nature have equity and inclusion in their goals) such as Virtually Connecting, OER in Other Languages, and Research on OER for Development. By using the initiatives that each of the workshop presenters have been involved with, we challenge participants to critically engage with the presumption that OER and their underpinning open practices offer a useful way to address decolonization, diversity and inclusion. Liberating Structures – and in this case Purpose-to-Practice – provide an interactive framework for examining our practices collaboratively and constructively.
The three practices we would like participants to think critically about are described briefly below.
Virtually Connecting is a grassroots movement whose purpose is “to enliven virtual participation in academic conferences, widening access to a fuller conference experience for those who cannot be physically present at conferences.” (Virtually Connecting, About Us http://virtuallyconnecting.org/about/). It does so by hosting hybrid video conversations between people onsite at a conference and virtual participants who cannot attend for financial, social, logistical, health or other reasons, which include traditionally marginalized academics such as contingent faculty, graduate students, scholars from emerging economies/global South, and those with parenting responsibilities, largely women. As such, it challenges academic gatekeeping by opening up those spontaneous hallway conversations that build social capital for the few who are able to attend conferences regularly.
OER in Other Languages
In 2017 I began a site called OER in Other Languages (http://oloer.opened.ca), with the purpose of surfacing OERs created in other languages and to amplify those efforts. After more than a decade of participation in the open education resource movement, I had noticed that funding, initiatives, projects, and the creation of OERs were largely unidirectional, in favour of English to Other Languages. I questioned how often OERs created in other languages are being localized and translated for English speaking contexts, and whether our open education practices include searching and adapting OERs created in other languages. I view the OLOER site as an application of the concepts of Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice (Pillar, 2016).
At the core of the OER movement is the intention to provide affordable and equitable access to culturally relevant education to all. This ambition could be described as a desire to provide education in a manner consistent with social justice which, according to Fraser (2005), is understood as “parity of participation”. Between 2013-2017 the Research on OER for Development (ROER4D) project set out to ascertain the extent of the adoption and impact of OER in countries in the Global South. ROER4D comprised 103 research team members from 19 countries across South America, Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. A meta-synthesis of the findings yielded many insights which highlight the variable creation, use and/or adaptation of OER.
We will begin with an overview of our 3 projects in order to introduce them to the participants (approx 15 minutes. We will then spend approximately 30 minutes facilitating the Liberating Structure P2P (http://www.liberatingstructures.com/33-purpose-to-practice-p2p/). P2P will provide the process and the framework for the participants to safely critique how our projects consider, or don’t consider adequately, decolonization, diversity and inclusion. We will leave the remaining 15 minutes for wrap up and discussion.
McCandless, K. and Lipmanowicz, H., 2014. The surprising power of liberating structures.
Piller, I 2016, Linguistic diversity and social justice: an introduction to applied sociolinguistics. Oxford University Press, Oxford.