Open education has a strong historical connection to Canada, with higher education and other publicly funded institutions across the country making early and strong commitments to openness in the form of development of open textbooks and other OERs, the first MOOC, development of Z-Cred programming, and global advocacy for open practices. Despite this connection, most institutions still have not fully engaged or leveraged the transformative potential of open practices. In this session, we ask the question of why that is, and importantly, what we can do to support such change.
In this session, we explore the landscape of how institutions and governments in Canada are attempting to increase engagement with open educational practices, primarily through financial incentives and policies, and how that has changed over the last decade. We go back to basics in discussing some of the common tools and techniques that are currently being used to encourage open practices, many of which focus on grants and cost savings through development of open texts, and ask why it might be challenging for higher education institutions to move beyond these levers to effecting systemic change in open practices? Additionally, we explore what we see as a necessary evolution of the open education world towards engaging with the more transformative practices found in spaces like the Digital Pedagogy Lab (e.g. Stommel & Morris, 2018), which challenge us to move beyond the open textbook narrative into elements of critical digital pedagogy that empower students and instructors to make significant change personally, locally, and globally.
As leaders who are tasked with developing this engagement, we ask what it is that we can do to assist this process? We consider a metaphor of ecological fire management, where many small fires are intentionally lit on several fronts to facilitate cool, slow burns. This approach leads to landscape scale change, renewal, and evolution, as opposed to wildfires that are uncontrolled and while they do create significant change, they can lead to permanent damage to the ecosystem. We also consider the challenge of what happens when the winds change and the fire suddenly receives either considerably more fuel (such as government funding), or a lack thereof (policy changes). We will share some examples of ‘slow burn’ approaches that we have tried within our institutions and beyond, and discuss which fires we choose to light first to enable the broadest engagement with open practices. We also relate this work to some of the change management in higher education literature (e.g. Fullan and Scott, 2009; Stracke, 2017) to contextualise and help reflect on our work and roles as leaders.
In this session we hope to field-test the metaphor of the slow burn with the participants and offer a space to share additional ‘fire fronts’ that should be considered in making change.
Stommel, J., and Morris, S.M. (2018). An Urgency of Teachers: The Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy. Hybrid Pedagogy Inc. Available at: https://urgencyofteachers.com/ [accessed 30 Nov., 2018)
Cronin, C., & MacLaren, I. (2018). Conceptualising OEP: A review of theoretical and empirical literature in Open Educational Practices. Open Praxis, 10(2).
Sinkinson, C. (2018). The Values of Open Pedagogy. Educause Review. Online. Available at: https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2018/11/the-values-of-open-pedagogy [Accessed: 30 Nov. 2018]
Stracke, C. M. (2017). Open Education and Learning Quality: The Need for Changing Strategies and Learning Experiences Online. Available at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/132289975.pdf [Accessed: 30 Nov. 2018]
Fullan, M. and Scott, G. (2009). Turnaround Leadership for Higher Education. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons.