Adoption and adaptation of open education resources (OER) has been part of my teaching practice since 2017. In 2019 I took a step into an open education practice (OEP) in my microeconomics courses where students were asked the question; What are the impacts on open resource adoption on our community? Dave Cromier tells us that open practice can get messy (2017, 26:45-27:40) and Catherine Cronin tells us open education practices are risky (2017, 5:23-6:06). My first foray into open practice was all of these things; unpredictable, risky and messy and left me deeply uncomfortable and reluctant to embark on open practices again. I retreated back to adopting and adapting open resources and to the content driven activity-based courses I knew how to teach and knew how to control.
Carolyn Levy (2018) reminds us that when we design education, that by default we design from our own cultural lens and colonial assumptions. Two of my assumptions were interrogated in Levy’s presentation; that the learning outcomes approach is universal, and that experiential education is the ultimate education. Levy invites us to consider that the learning outcomes approach stems from a neoliberal framework emphasizing assessment, which may not be meaningful in another culture and may actually cause harm (Levy, 38:06 – 41:13) and that experiential education can have unexpected and enormous impacts in shifting culture (Levy, 41:21 – 41:51).
My assumptions, that learning outcomes is what education is and that experiential education is universally best, and my fear of mess, risk and unpredictable outcomes have driven my recent choice to retreat from open education practices. With that choice I have closed a door on an approach that can help de-centre my worldview, and missed the opportunity that OEP can bring as it
“offers up a means for people to actively participate with something whether it’s education or even other things like contributing to culture in ways that they simply were not allowed to before.” (Stacey, 22:30-22:43).
These two considerations help me understand my first forays into open practice better and remind me how important open practices are. Knowing that open practice is messy, unpredictable and risky by its nature helps me reconcile my experience as somewhat normal. Knowing that open practices can help to re-centre student voices in the learning (Stacey, 22:10-23:16) and helps move the learning away from an instructor centred view with all the cultural assumptions the designer and instructor brings to the learning experience leads me to a readiness to reorient working with open practices in my classes again.
Cromier, Dave (2017, April 18) Intentional messiness of online communities. MALAT Virtual Symposium 2018; Royal Roads University.
Cronin, Catherine (2017, April 20) Open culture, open education, open question. MALAT Virtual Symposium 2018, Royal Road University.
Levy, Carolyn (2018, April 20) Design and Culture -Stories From The Field. MALAT Virtual Symposium 2018, Royal Road University.
Stacey, Paul (2018, April 17) Diversity, Equity, Inclusing – Building a Global Learning Commons. MALAT Virtual Symposium 2018, Royal Road University.