‘Being open’ is not binary state or a one-time decision. Many open educators and scholars have referred to openness as a way of being, or becoming (Campbell, 2012; Mackness, 2013; OEPS, 2016). Open educational practices (OEP) are continually negotiated by individuals within various contexts. And Zourou (2017) reminds us that engagement in OEP is “far from being a natural act”. So the work of open educators is complex: navigating the complexities of open practice and open learning ourselves; seeking to develop the reflective, open practices of the learners and students with whom we work; and, for many, experiencing tensions between enactment of open identities/OEP and traditional scholarly practices within our institutions. This presentation will explore these complexities using empirical data from a recent study of educators and students at one higher education institution. Open educators in the study were found to use open, networked, “Resident” (White and Le Cornu, 2017) identities and practices and to use OEP in their teaching. However, while educators chose to use OEP based on their own values and conceptions of self as networked educators, most made assumptions about the digital practices and preferences of students. While some uses of OEP resulted in enhanced student engagement, other initiatives were less successful. For educators wishing to use open practices, this highlights the importance not only of critical, reflective practice for oneself, but also for the open learners with whom we work. The potential of OER and OEP is considerable, but so too are the risks of open practice for individuals, particularly individuals who may already be marginalised. As open educators, and particularly as agents of change in our institutions and communities, we can engage in developing critical digital, data, and network literacies (for ourselves, our peers, and learners) and also commit to engaging with learners’ networked identities, practices, values, and concerns in all of the contexts in which we work. The presentation will explore ways that open educators and critical open education advocates can support critical and reflective practice to make the most of the potential for open education, while also recognising and ameliorating potential risks.
Campbell, G. (2012). Ecologies of yearning. Keynote, Open Education Conference 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIzA4ItynYw.
Mackness, J. (2013, April 17). An alternative perspective on the meaning of ‘open’ in Higher Education [blog]. http://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/an-alternative-perspective-on-the-meaning-of-open-in-higher-education/
White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2017). Using ‘Visitors and Residents’ to visualise digital practices. First Monday, 22(8). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/7802
Zourou, K. (2017). Identity and engagement in networked Open Educational Practice. Apprentissage Des Langues et Systèmes d’Information et de Communication, 20(1). http://alsic.revues.org/3009