This presentation will share the experience of redesigning a graduate program in Learning and Technology that has openness as a key design principle. Openness was adopted as a program goal predicated on the philosophical stance that openness and open educational practices facilitate collaboration and cultivate networked learning in its many forms as necessitated by the digital age. The graduate program under study approaches openness as a dynamic and negotiated space which encompasses “collaborative practices [including]… the creation, use and reuse of OER, as well as pedagogical practices employing participatory technologies and social networks for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and empowerment of learners” (Cronin, 2017, ¶ 10). In the context of a blended and online learning higher education institution, examples of how the 5 R’s of open: retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute (Wiley, 2014) have been applied at program and course level will be shared and the intersection of open, networked learning and the institutional learning, teaching and research model will be examined. All courses of the graduate program and the initial online community building online experience will be shared with participants before, during and after the workshop.
Though openness is often assumed to be a democratizing approach to education, scholars have noted that its practice appears to be much more complicated and unequal (Gourlay, 2015; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012). This presentation will discuss factors including institutional norms, leadership, relationships, humility and criticality that were identified as being instrumental in fostering a culture of openness at the school, faculty, and university levels. It will share the tensions and conceptual, practical and technical challenges experienced in developing a culture of openness in a higher education institution that to date has no formal institutional open education strategy or open policy in place.
This presentation and associated longitudinal research study of faculty and student perceptions of openness contribute to the conversation about what openness looks like in practice. Initial findings of how embodying this view of openness impacted the experience of faculty and students in designing for, and facilitating in, these more open learning spaces will be shared and discussed. The related upcoming book chapter will be shared openly via AU Press upon release. We believe that openness in practice is much more complex than advocates note, and we hope that by sharing our experiences, and discussing them with other practitioners will benefit our collective ability to navigate the complexities that are inherent in the act of implementation.
Cronin, C. (2017, April, 20). Open culture, open education, open questions. Retrieved from http://ow.ly/L9ch30b2f41
Gourlay, L. (2015). Open education as a ‘heterotopia of desire’. Learning, Media and Technology, 40(3), 310-327.
Wiley, D. (2014) The Access Compromise and the 5th R. Retrieved from https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221
Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 13(4), 166-189.
MALAT Program page https://malat-coursesite.royalroads.ca/malat/