Digital technologies offer a variety of ways in which learners and teachers can interact with resources and channels for them to communicate and collaborate with their peers. One of the key affordances of technologies is that they enable more open practices. The paper critiques the rise and impact of the open education movement and the impact of adopting more open practices on learning and teaching. It aims to provide a reflection on the current status and impact of the open education movement, drawing on Conole and Brown (2018).
The field has rapidly evolved, with new aspects such as open practices, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), e-textbooks and the broader concept of opening up education. Open practices have many facets and are complex, they are not new but are having an increasingly impact in education as a result of new technologies and in particular social media. There is a lot of rhetoric around the potential of open practices and naïve assumptions about their impact, but it is important to caution against this; they are not inherently good in themselves, but it is more to do with how they are appropriated. In other words, the nature of and benefits of open practices depends on the context, i.e. how they are applied and implemented. Cronin (2017) argues that the use of open practices by learners and educators is complex, personal, and contextual; it is also continually negotiated. Higher Education institutions require collaborative and critical approaches to openness in order to support academics, students, and learning in an increasingly complex Higher Education environment. Olcott (2013) argues that openness and open education needs to be viewed along a continuum with varying degrees of openness and access to knowledge as the guiding core principle. However, we take a more nuanced approach arguing that it is more of a kaleidoscope, due to the complexity and ever-changing scope and nature of openness.
After a generic overview, the focus will be on the phenomenon of open digital textbooks (Hilton, 2016) as a response to textbook cost and accessibility. The recent 2017-2018 Babson Group survey on teaching materials in U.S. higher education has reported that faculty awareness of OER is now at 46% (Seaman & Seaman, 2018). Each year of the survey has shown a steady increase in faculty awareness of OER up from 34% three years ago. This suggests OER and Open Textbooks may be at a tipping point. An idea whose time has come. However, we also critically examine the role (indeed privileged position) of the textbook as an archetypal artifact of education by admitting the voice of students to testify to the complex lived reality of textbook use (and non-use) (Costello et al, 2018). We also point out some gaps in research into faculty open textbook research and describe a research initiative designed to address them.
The sessions will be interactive with opportunities for participants to reflect on and discuss the paper presented
Conole, G. and Brown, M. (2018), Reflecting on the impact of the Open Education Movement. Commonwealth of Learning Journal of Learning for Development.
Costello, E., Brown, M., Brunton, J., Bolger, R. & Soverino, T. (2018) Textbook costs and accessibility: Could open textbooks play a role? In Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on eLearning, ECEL 2018, 1-2 November 2018, Athens, Greece.
Cronin, C. (2017), Open education, open questions, EDUCAUSE review, available online at https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/10/open-education-open-questions, last accessed 28th June 2018.
Hilton, J. III (2016) Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions, Educational Technology Research and Development, Vol 64, No. 4, pp 573–590.
Olcott, D. (2013), Access under siege: Are the gains of open education keeping pace with the growing barriers to university access?, Open Praxis, Vol. 5, Issue 1, 15-20, available online at https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/14/3, last accessed 28th June 2018.
Seaman, J. E. & Seaman, J. (2018). Opening the textbook: Educational resources in US higher education 2017-18 Babson Survey Research Group. Available from https://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/freeingthetextbook2018.pdf