Conferences, even those on Open Education, will inevitably tend to focus on educational institutions, and predominantly those institutions in the Global North. This 7 minute session will address some of the difficult questions about open education, presented in the OER19 Call for Proposals:
* Why open?
* Open for whom?
* Whose interests are served?
* In what ways has the open agenda been appropriated, and what are the implications of this?
I will address these questions within the context of people and technologies that I have met in my local community in the North West of England, not in an educational institution but in the library where I volunteer as an IT Buddy. Many of the people I encounter are older with particular needs (Selwyn et al 2016) and using technologies that are low cost or bought for them by others; or report their unsatisfactory experience as tried and failed (Millward 2003). Others come because they are obliged to go online to access services.
The questions from the Call for Proposals will have little or no meaning for many of the people I encounter but I can highlight how some people very different from the demographic of students and staff in UK Higher Education experience open and digital in general. And I think that this orthogonal perspective can inform the experience of those outside the mainstream, those who could benefit greatly from digital technology.
In order to capture the range of experiences, I will present a series of vignettes as video stories, followed by presentation of the key issues.
Selwyn, N. et al. (2016) Going online on behalf of others others. Available at: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/83436/.
Millward, P. (2003) ‘The “grey digital divide”: Perception, exclusion and barriers of access to the Internet for older people’, First Monday, 8(7). Available at: https://ojphi.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1066/986 .