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Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education



This chapter will explore some of the emerging trends in higher education worldwide brought by opening up education, including open educational resources (OER), open educational practices (OEP) and massive open online courses (MOOCs). These trends are transforming and challenging the traditional values and structures of universities, including curriculum design, pedagogies, and approaches to recognise and accredit learning assisted by OEP. We will also reflect on ways in which OEP, open ecosystems and the recognition of open learning experiences can further support learners, educators and educational institutions. In doing so, we will revise and re-work a learner centred model (Smyth, 2011) to incorporate some of the current transformation brought by openness. The revised model, called Open Empowered Learning Model, will prompt discussion on alternative ways in which learners, educators and educational institutions could take full advantage of these new trends.
Open Learning and
Formal Credentialing in
Higher Education:
Curriculum Models and
Institutional Policies
Shirley Reushle
University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Amy Antonio
University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Mike Keppell
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
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Chapter 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8856-8.ch011
This chapter will explore some of the emerging trends in higher education worldwide brought by open-
ing up education, including open educational resources (OER), open educational practices (OEP) and
massive open online courses (MOOCs). These trends are transforming and challenging the traditional
values and structures of universities, including curriculum design, pedagogies, and approaches to
recognise and accredit learning assisted by OEP. We will also reflect on ways in which OEP, open eco-
systems and the recognition of open learning experiences can further support learners, educators and
educational institutions. In doing so, we will revise and re-work a learner centred model (Smyth, 2011)
to incorporate some of the current transformation brought by openness. The revised model, called Open
Empowered Learning Model, will prompt discussion on alternative ways in which learners, educators
and educational institutions could take full advantage of these new trends.
Open educational practice (OEP) constitutes the adoption of open educational resources (OER) within
open learning ecologies (Open Education Quality Initiative, 2011). We will further discuss and expand the
OEP concept in this chapter, but before we continue, we would like to define open educational resources,
which is another important concept used throughout this work. Since first being coined by UNESCO in
Toward an Open Empowered
Learning Model of Pedagogy
in Higher Education
Robyn Smyth
University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Carina Bossu
University of Tasmania, Australia
Adrian Stagg
University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
2002, the term, open educational resources, has evolved to meet the fast pace of the movement and the
diverse contexts in which it has now been used (Bossu, Bull, & Brown, 2012). According to the White
Paper published by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in November 2013, “the idea behind
Open Educational Resources (OER) is simple but powerful — educational materials made freely and
legally available on the Internet for anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute” (The William and
Flora Hewlett Foundation, 2013, p. 3).
We hope to add to the current investigation of openness by exploring learner-centred pedagogies
(Smyth, 2011) through an open lens. This pedagogical model has influenced our thinking so we will
use it as a starting point for discussion. The essence of the model in the constructivist domain explored
the possible interactions between learners and their peers, the teacher, the content and technology. The
intent was to show how synchronous communications tools could and should be chosen for their fit-to-
purpose within a learning design intended to engage learners and to stimulate their autonomy as learners.
To achieve this, the model used different lenses: learners, knowledge and connectivity. The intersections
between lenses highlight synergies in the model between:
Knowledge and Connectivity: The possibilities for learning using appropriate e-learning tools
to serve learning needs.
Learners and Knowledge: How learners could be encouraged to and have freedom to navigate
around their existing knowledge to acquire and build new knowledge.
Learners and Connectivity: Possibilities for learners to choose from available e- and m-learning
technologies to deeply engage in peer-to-peer learning and transformation (Smyth, 2011).
In common with open practice philosophies, learners take precedence on an assumption that the
learning design is developmental in expectations for cognitive load, knowledge and skills acquisition,
and growth of learner autonomy and locus of control (Smyth, 2011). The locus of control for learning
is shifted from the teacher to the learner/s with a hope for transformative learning:
The role of the teacher as facilitator requires an approach of working with learners to promote learner-
learner collaboration and knowledge building rather than teaching to them in a teacher-to-learner
transmission of knowledge. (Smyth, 2011, p. 114)
Higher education is now immersed in new waves of online technologies, approaches and offerings
with the latest being:
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) which tend to be courses/units or part of a unit purposely
developed to be delivered to thousands of learners across the world (Wappett, 2012). The large
majority of MOOCs, however, use traditional teaching approaches of knowledge transmission and
do not provide clear articulations or pathways towards degrees (McGreal, 2013).
The open educational practice movement where a proliferation of free and open training and de-
velopment courses, together with a wide range of educational resources are available to anyone
globally (Open Education Quality Initiative, 2011).
What is still missing in our view is a new approach (dare we suggest an open approach) to pedagogy
which focuses on learning by the learner for the learner in formal and informal settings.
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
This chapter intends to explore this pedagogy gap further with a view to stimulating conversations
about harnessing the benefits of accessibility (created by vastly improved connectivity and mobility)
and openness. Underpinning these hopes are our thoughts about fresh approaches to pedagogy- here
defined as the means used to stimulate learning rather than the more traditional function or “work of
a teacher; teaching; the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods” (Pedagogy, n.d.).
In our view the greatest potential for a new transformative pedagogy flows from the ‘openness agenda’
which is gathering momentum worldwide (Lane & McAndrew, 2010; Li, MacNeill, & Kraan, 2008;
Taylor & Mackintosh, 2011). From its early foundations in 2001, the OER movement has evolved from
being mainly focused on increasing access to digital educational resources, to being focused on support-
ing educational practices and promoting quality and innovation in learning and teaching through OEP
(Andrade et al., 2011; Open Education Quality Initiative, 2011). The increased popularity of OER and
OEP has spawned institutional collaborations such as the OER University (OERu) (Taylor, 2007) and
the formation of several universities’ consortia worldwide to offer free online learning courses (either
with paid accredited courses or not) to an ever diverse number of learners (e.g. MOOCs). In particular
the OERu is committed to“creating flexible pathways for learners using open learning materials hosted
on the Internet to earn credible credentials from accredited higher education institutions” (Macintosh,
McGreal, & Taylor, 2011, p. 1).
Throughout this chapter, we conceptually explore approaches to this credentialisation of open learning
experiences. As there is little evidence of wide scale implementation and acceptance of the convergence
of open educational resources and formal credentialising, the discussion focuses on possible and vi-
able educational futures. Given the momentum of the ‘open movement’ in the last decade, this future
may be neither as far away, or as unviable, as first thought. Unlike most MOOC approaches, OER and
OEP seem to be refocussing educators towards values about the essence of, access to, and freedom to
engage in, learning.
There has been, until very recently, an extent to which socially critical approaches to pedagogy were
constrained by the context of broad-scale education which has been a stricture on transformative practice.
Until the advent of global connectivity, institutions have been blinkered to many possibilities which arise
when released of habitual constraints of place (Gruenewald, 2003) and out-dated paradigms concerning
the purpose and nature of teaching in higher education (Ellsworth, 1989). Released from such strictures,
higher education now has the opportunity to become personalised and globalised.
We now see opportunities in the turbulent waters in which we find ourselves as a consequence of
disruptive online technologies. We hope to explore some of the openness concepts with a view to stimu-
lating new discourses. As Conole, de Laat, Dillon, & Darby (2008) remind us,
… students are immersed in a rich, technology-enhanced learning environment and that they select and
appropriate technologies to their own personal learning needs. The findings have profound implications
for the way in which educational institutions design and support learning activities. (p. 511)
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
The change from open content to open practices has not been the only shift that has occurred recently
in the OER landscape. In the last couple of years we have also seen an increase in popularity of the
recognition of prior learning (RPL) and assessment for accredited learning through the use of OER,
so students can demonstrate to employers that they have completed the studies and acquired the skills
needed to perform a certain job or task. In most cases, students have access to free online resources,
but pay a small fee to undertake the assessment (Geith & Stagg, 2013). Another recent development in
OER and OEP, and which is impacting dramatically on the higher education landscape globally, is the
advent of MOOCs (Daniel, 2012). MOOCs have attracted thousands of students from all over the world
wanting to experience learning from leading universities. Universities worldwide have then realised the
potential of MOOCs to attract students, to showcase their courses and to profit from it through coupling
MOOCS with assessing learning (Caudill, 2012). However, it is important to clarify that the assessments
undertaken in MOOCs are in their majority automated and students receive only certificates of accom-
plishment, not university credentials. Thus, learners do not receive a Harvard or MIT degree from EdX.
Also, Coursera and Udacity, which are other popular consortia of this kind, do not operate under the
principles that underpin OEP. They provide tuition free learning opportunities, but most of the course
materials are not made available to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. Even so, these initiatives do
demonstrate the demand and interest worldwide in free learning opportunities.
Many energetic and committed academic staff have begun to foster OEP, which has stimulated a
world-wide series of discussions and initiatives intended to raise awareness and understanding about
the ways in which open learning ecologies can prosper and grow the creation, use, and re-use of OER
as a means to share knowledge (Open Education Quality Initiative, 2011).
Although the movement is emerging, we know that there are a series of preconditions for adopting
OEP effectively:
Creating understanding about OEP through definition of its elements.
Providing guidance on implementation strategies for individuals, institutions and policy makers.
Transforming learning and teaching pedagogies towards the philosophy of openness, enabling
learner autonomy and promoting knowledge co-creation Understanding OEP (Open Education
Quality Initiative, 2011).
It is the proposition of the Open Educational Quality Initiative sponsored by UNESCO that the con-
stitutive forces of OEP comprise two factors: openness in resource usage and creation vs. openness in
pedagogical models (Open Education Quality Initiative, 2011). At its zenith OEP should combine high
levels of OER with pedagogies which stimulate learner generated content produced by learners acting
autonomously exploring, collaborating and generating knowledge.
Abundant information sources about open educational resources (from resource repositories, to teaching
practice, research reports, and professional networking) are available to prospective open practitioners.
Agencies such as UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning maintain free and open libraries, and
even a cursory internet search yields millions of results. Despite this, the potential of OER and OEP have
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
not been fully explored and realised by many educational institutions and educators yet. In fact, research
has shown that little is known about how teachers and learners use, repurpose and interact with OER
(Panke, 2011). What is known, and not unexpected in the emergent context of the OER movement, is that
there is a limited understanding of OER and OEP amongst higher education stakeholders in Australia
(Bossu et al., 2012) and across the globe (Conole & Weller, 2008; Panke, 2011).
As we mentioned previously, the OEP movement has already impacted on mainstream higher educa-
tion globally, by increasing access to education through a wide range of educational content to formal
and informal learners; by creating innovative ways and platforms in which learners could access these
materials, and by developing alternative pathways in which informal learning could be assessed and
recognised within traditional educational systems (Camilleri & Ehlers, 2011). However, there needs to
be a series of processes in place in order to begin the establishment of institutional readiness and take
the most advantage of OEP.
One important approach to encouraging institutional readiness is to establish a level of institutional
commitment through policy development and review. Recent research conducted in Australia revealed
that dedicated institutional OEP policies would encourage effective use of OER and adoption of OEP
(Bossu, Brown, & Bull, 2014). In addition, there should be a consultation process amongst university
stakeholders during policy reviews. In fact, educational institutions could use their policy review processes
as an opportunity to engage stakeholders in discussion about open licensing options and the adoption of
OEP: According to Scott (2014), “This will, in turn, raise awareness and inform university policy and
guidelines. The consultation should consider the university’s motivation and strategic direction, establish
employee expectations and identify required actions” (p. 21).
The review should identify and address the policy barriers that may need to be addressed and con-
centrate on the benefits that open content licensing of university-generated content may bring to the
university, amongst other things (Commonwealth of Learning, 2011).
We understand that transformation and change, particularly within the higher education landscape,
can occur very slowly and can attract many sceptics. Academic staff professional development and
capacity-building are important and influential instruments to empower academic staff to embrace and
participate in change (Healey, Bradford, Roberts, & Knight, 2013; Smyth, 2003). Previous research on
OER and OEP have identified a lack of appropriate staff professional development programs available
for academics as one of the main reasons for the limited adoption of OER and OEP in Australian uni-
versities (Bossu et al., 2012). In order to encourage the adoption of OEP by academics and educators
in general, institutions need to:
Provide technical support to academic staff, so they can make informed decisions regarding OEP.
Create incentives for educators, such as recognition and awards for those involved in OEP activi-
ties within their institutions or when working collaboratively with other institutions.
Create a culture of openness, which includes open collaboration, open learning design strategies,
open academic (encourage publication in open access journals) (Camilleri & Ehlers, 2011), open
university management, amongst other strategies (Bossu et al., 2014).
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
Another implementation strategy that needs to be considered in order to establish OEP is resourcing.
Universitiessenior managers should reflect on the additional investments, such as infrastructure, technol-
ogy and human and other organisational resources that might be required for effective implementation
of OEP. It is known that the adoption of OEP can bring several benefits to educational institutions such
as reducing production costs, improving quality and bringing innovation to traditional educational con-
tent materials (Caswell, Henson, Jensen, & Wiley, 2008) and, therefore, assisting senior managers and
educational leaders to lead in the current climate of change (Bossu et al., 2012). OEP can also be used
as a marketing tool by making educational resources publically available on the internet. The benefits
and investments that can likely occur with the introduction of OEP need to be carefully considered by
institutional leaders before embarking on this open journey.
Moreover, understanding the OEP landscape and planning are also good strategies to pursue while
considering the adoption of OEP. Issues that decision makers should reflect on are:
Understand the scope of the OEP initiative.
What is the institutional purpose of adopting OEP?
If there will be processes to recognise and/or accredit formal or informal learning through OEP.
Additionally, issues “regarding quality control, whether or not to support translation and localisa-
tion of resources, how to facilitate access for students with disabilities, and technical issues” need to be
analysed when adopting OEP (Bossu & Tynan, 2011, p. 261).
In terms of pedagogy the advent of improved access to knowledge and opening up of institutional
barriers have potential to provide greater opportunity for learner interaction with and use of knowledge
in collaborative spaces likely to prompt generation of new ideas. These opportunities would not be pos-
sible within a teacher-centred pedagogy.
It is our proposition that the learner centred approach (Smyth, 2011) could easily be re-used or re-mixed
as a transformative open pedagogy which goes beyond many MOOC models because its basic tenets are
focused on empowering learners and are philosophically compatible with the principles underpinning
OEP. In brief the learner centred model concerns,
… how to make the most of emerging opportunities for interactivity, not with content as currently avail-
able in asynchronous online learning but between learners. Thus, it seeks to provide a basis for decisions
about learning design when learner-to-learner communication is desirable in online environments,
particularly distance education. In doing so, the model implies a significant increase in empowerment
of learners who can drive interaction according to personal and group learning needs derived from
planned learning goals or the need to achieve specified outcomes. (Smyth, 2011, p. 3)
With this approach in mind, our revised model supports learners interacting with other learners, with
content and with technology. Equally, learners may act as teachers as well as learners, a transformative
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
possibility made more likely where OEP becomes the norm (Lane & McAndrew, 2010). Students - when
prepared appropriately to act within an open environment become co-creators of the learning experience.
This is achieved by designing learning experiences which leverage the affordances of open content. To
do this, the pedagogy empowers the explicit permission to discover, re-use, remix, and revise materials
for local contexts (and subsequently share the material back to the community). In this way, students
critically apply discipline knowledge to create understanding.
A curriculum that embraces a discovery-based, risk-taking, connected view of knowledge creation
moves the student from just ‘learner centeredness’ to ‘learner empowered’, whilst simultaneously shift-
ing the teacher from the centre of the curriculum to the role of ‘expert curator’. In this role, curation is
defined as,
… an active process whereby content/artefacts are purposely selected to be preserved for future access.
In the digital environment, additional elements can be leveraged, such as the inclusion of social media
to disseminate collected content, the ability for other users to suggest content or leave comments and
the critical evaluation and selection of aggregated content. This latter part especially is important in
defining this as an active process. (Antonio, Martin, & Stagg, 2012, p. 55)
The teacher as ‘expert curator’ therefore acts as a nexus to mediate collections of materials that will
‘value-add’ to the student experience. These collections will most likely not be authored (or even dis-
covered) by the teacher, but the teacher acts as a facilitator and moderator of learning discussions and
course curator. So what would a revised pedagogical model look like?
Principles of an open empowered learning approach:
1. Control rests with learners who navigate their own journey through content to achieve desired learn-
ing outcomes using both informal and formal pathways, which include RPL and credit transfer.
2. Open, re-useable content is the preferred source of information for shared, co-creation of knowledge,
which also values informal learning.
3. Learners are supported to be increasingly autonomous and to develop critical social consciousness
in an open ecosystems.
4. Teachers facilitate discovery, co-creation and learning engagement for transformation through open
pedagogy where they become less visible as learning progresses.
5. OEP support social transformation, sharing and co-creation of knowledge in fully open ecosystems,
where benefit for social good is expected.
What are we proposing here? Our intention has been to forecast principles for a pedagogy which
goes beyond learner centeredness towards learner empowerment in a developmental pedagogy which
is beyond simple discovery. From the teacher’s point of view the shift is from facilitator of learning to
expert curator of learning experiences through use of open resources and open practice. Referring back
to our earlier discussion of the power of OEP, the intent is to stimulate discussion about an ecosystem
where learner centrality and co-construction of knowledge are core values situated on and aligned with
institutional strategies and support so that this transformative pedagogy and change can be carried out.
Such a shift in thinking will challenge the current institutional focus on managerial models.
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
The environmental factors influencing the adoption of Open Educational Practice present a confluence
of opportunities. As we have observed, OEP at both the practitioner and institutional levels sits at the
nexus of digital accessibility, student awareness, and appropriate pedagogies. What progress is being
made and how might we advance towards new pedagogies?
The EDUCAUSE Centre for Analysis and Research (ECAR) Study of Undergraduate Students and
Information Technology for 2012 and 2013 (Dahlstrom, Walker, & Dziuban, 2013) show distinct trends
in student use, and acceptance of OER. The survey collated the responses of 113,035 undergraduate
students (from 1.6 million invitations to participate) from 250 North American colleges and universities
in forty-seven states. The purpose of this annual study is to create a profile of undergraduate students’
use, acceptance, and behaviours concerning educational technology, and to assess student perceptions
of their institutions use of technology. The 2013 study is the tenth consecutive year the survey has been
administered, which allows for longitudinal trends to be identified.
Open resources become highly significant in the ECAR study for the first time in 2012, with 57%
of respondents indicating a desire for their lecturers to use open content more, compared to 19% of
respondents from the previous year. In 2013, this figure was only 49% (Dahlstrom et al., 2013), but the
study offers no explanation for the decrease. It does however show that 71% of students have either ex-
perimented with, used on occasion, or use “all the time”, OER for their studies (Dahlstrom et al., 2013,
p. 12). It seems that students are accessing this material as supplementary, self-discovered resources to
understand difficult concepts, and to actively seek alternative disciplinary viewpoints to that of their
lecturers (Dahlstrom et al., 2013). The perception of OER as ‘supplementary material’ is encouraging,
as is evidence that students are actively seeking resources to support their study. This behaviour can
underpin a range of appropriate pedagogical approaches for online learning, and build on existing digital
and information literacy for both higher education and professional outcomes.
To notionally extend student access of open material is to also consider the implications for awarding
credit for these non-formal educational experiences. If a student takes an open course concurrent to their
university course, or enrols in an open course for support (for example, an Engineer enrolling in an open
mathematics course) there is no recognition for their learning. Some argument could be made for such
a student receiving higher grades, but this presupposes that the open course is directly aligned with the
current course of study. A student studying an MBA with a Major in International Business may take
an open language course, or an open cultural history course in order to build their knowledge, but con-
textualise these open courses within their formal discipline. It could be reasonably argued that a student
pursuing this type of concurrent enrolment would graduate as a more ‘well-rounded’ MBA student, but
there will be no mention of the open courses on their testamur. The challenge is to acknowledge and
assess learning ‘in context’, and ‘for purpose’ within the degree structure, its provider notwithstanding.
The second enabler for OEP is the current nature of information creation, storage and dissemination.
Many of the assets used in formal courses (and their open counterparts) are ‘born digital’, from schol-
arly articles, to case studies, to learning objects and assessment (Conole, 2013). Many institutions have
focused on repositories in the last few years as they struggle to manage, and make accessible to staff
and students, the large volume of institutionally-created information. Open repositories such as Jorum,
MERLOT II, OER Commons, and Content Without Borders seek to provide practitioners and students
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
alike with access to open learning materials. Other specialised repositories store openly-licenced textbooks
(such as OpenStax), or access to scholarly journal articles (the Directory of Open Access Journals) and
books (Directory of Open Access Books, Project Gutenberg).
Collaboration is inherent to the (re)use of OER enabling courses wherein students and teachers
work together to work/rework materials within a discipline context (D’Antoni, 2008). Whilst D’Antoni
does highlight that Higher Educational institutions are key stakeholders in the need to address deficits
in research and quality frameworks for OEP, there is still only a small amount of research concerning
teaching models which would support OEP sustainability (Bossu et al., 2014) and very little evidence that
pedagogies that support open learning in a digital environment are becoming mainstream (Conole, 2013).
A pedagogical approach to enable and support students in an online environment where value is
ascribed to open resources, and purposeful efforts are evidenced to organise and provide access to these
resources logically leans to a curricula founded on digital and information literacy skills practiced in a
disciplinary context (Boudreau & Bicknell-Holmes, 2004; Stagg & Kimmins, 2012). Each discipline
holds agreed-upon conventions of the value of certain types of information resources, and the manner in
which students and professionals interact with information likewise differs. The value of a degree should
not just be the amount of knowledge one has gained, but rather the ability to apply it to add value profes-
sionally and to society. This provides a personal focus for learning that seems to have been overlooked
in recent decades, as managerial lenses have predominated over higher education.
In acknowledging this, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2007)
report titled Giving knowledge for free: The emergence of open educational resources, states that open
educational resources offer, “the prospect of a radically new approach to the sharing of knowledge, at a
time when effective use of knowledge is seen more and more as the key to economic success, for both
individuals and nations” (p. 9).
If this is recognised as an economic development priority, one needs to question how the current
higher education curriculum supports this notion.
Evolving technology (both educational technology and those digital tools harnessed for educational
purposes) challenge more recent didactic pedagogies by more easily enabling students to engage in ac-
tivities such as peer critiquing, generating content, curating content (Antonio et al., 2012), and forming
digital learning communities that may include students from outside the university (Conole, 2013). In an
open learning environment, digital learning assets are recast as social assets (Weller, 2011); their value
being derived from reuse and repurposing, with the rewards being reputational rather than economic.
Whilst students may be entering the university environment with high levels of personal digital skills,
it requires a purposeful curriculum with authentic learning opportunities to transfer these skills to an
academic setting (Connaway & Dickey, 2010; Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton, & Robison, 2009;
Kennedy, Judd, Churchward, Gray, & Krause, 2008).
The affordances of open educational practice should be enabled by complementary learning design.
Learning design here is defined as “a methodology for enabling teachers/designers to make informed
decisions in how they go about designing learning activities and interventions, which is pedagogically
informed and makes effective use of appropriate resources and technologies” (Conole, 2013, p. 7).
The aforementioned high level of informational access gives rise to a ‘pedagogy of abundance’ (Weller,
2011), which recognises that previously universities have acknowledged (and designed around) a model
of informational scarcity. That is, expertise and knowledge was seen as residing in a scarce resource
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
(individual lecturers). However, a contemporary view of learning and teaching is one in which greater
control of learning is given to the student (Siemens, 2005), but this does require purposeful design for
these outcomes. Our model discussed above holds potential to enable such design since it too is based
on guided discovery supporting students to engage in opportunities for learning determined by their
need. In our new model, we go beyond facilitating engagement to promoting social co-construction of
knowledge as a core value to underpin our pedagogy which is also intended as an instrument for social
good. The role of the teacher becomes that of the expert curator in its broadest sense. Being the curator
goes beyond selection of learning resources and interaction as learning experiences towards encourage-
ment of learner-learner interaction as the basis of engagement and sharing of knowledge. The following
section will explore the possibilities for enabling pedagogies of open learning design.
One characteristic of most current university models that requires serious consideration is the reputa-
tional capital of the institution, which is at the heart of the credentialising process (Geith & Stagg, 2013).
In most cases, a university degree acts as a manifestation of trust between the institution and a wider
community that values the educational experience (most often employers). Under current models, the
act of conferring a completed degree to a student represents that the student has achieved the learning
outcomes at a particular standard, and these skills and knowledge are valued by a specific community,
within a specific context, for a specific purpose. The degree program may also be accredited; that is, an
external body (usually professional in nature) assures that the learning outcomes are aligned to profes-
sional standards.
These concepts are mired in the ‘traditional’ formal university education model. Most universities
have agreements and policies in place for RPL and credit transfer from other formal educational systems
(such as TAFE and vocational colleges, as well as from other universities both domestic and abroad);
and include a variety of learning experiences such as Work Integrated Learning (WIL), practicum and
professional placement programs. In the case of the latter experiences, the university may mediate and
assess the outcomes while the learning experience is managed by an external body. At all stages, there
is a clear mechanism to assess, and award credit for the completion of these formal educational experi-
ences; and there is purposeful place for these experiences within the degree curricula.
OEP however, has the potential to “accelerate the blurring of formal and informal learning” (Organisa-
tion for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2007, p. 9). Driven by interest, a ‘just-in-time’ need,
or seeking supplementary material, the informal learner connects with open material and constructs
personal learning pathways to meet a need. The learner may not require a full formal degree to meet their
immediate needs, but rather a short, focused course of study. For example, a computer programmer may
take an open course in a particular program or in app development to ensure their skills remain current.
The desired outcomes for this student would be an awareness of, and proficiency with, a certain type of
software. They may also demonstrate their competency or mastery in the workplace, but there is no formal
educational credit for engaging with the open course. Likewise, an information technology student who
undertakes the same open course concurrent with other university-offered courses will not see the open
course appear on their testamur (like our earlier MBA student); despite meeting the learning outcomes.
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
It is therefore suggested that the next phase of accepting open learning experiences in the sense of
awarding credit will be a hybrid model; one that uses the traditional course structure, but includes open
elements from other institutions (and some may not be universities) which are studied at particular times
during the semester within the traditional course structure. This has already been evidenced by the MIT
OpenCourseWare and the Open Educational Resources university (OERu) initiatives. The Spring 2014
offering of the course ‘Open Educational Resources and Practices’ (in the School of Education, with
the University of Southern Queensland, Australia) will incorporate two open courses (one offered by
the School of Open, and one by the OERu) into the formal course (Forsyth, 2013).
In a similar fashion, the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) incorporated the OERu course
‘Scenario planning for educators’ (SP4Ed) as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Davis,
2013). In the latter case, assessment was only offered to internally enrolled students; those students study-
ing the course freely could not seek formal credit. Despite this 61.5% of the students were not enrolled
in the Diploma program. The final survey of students showed that 52% believed that all participants
should have the opportunity to seek formal course credit, compared to 24% seeking a digital badge for
completion, 14% preferring a certificate of completion (with no credit attached), or 5% who would
recommend formal assessment with no university credit conferred. No students in the course indicated
that recognition of learning should not be offered (Davis, 2013). The analysis of the course suggested
that “The SP4Ed [course] has demonstrated a win-win strategy for universities to provide an authentic
international community learning experience while widening access to opportunities through an agenda
of social inclusion” (Davis, 2013).
This type of hybrid model has a number of advantages for learners including exposure to a broad range
of cultural interpretations of disciplines, an appreciation of local contextualising factors and connections
to students in other institutions and organisations. Open courses also offer value to institutions through
reputational capital, reusing existing open courses to reduce course production costs, and participating
in an informal open peer review of learning design.
It is worth noting however, that this model should not be perceived as a ‘plug-and-play’ experience
of course and program design, nor is it ‘outsourcing’ teaching. Criteria regarding the ‘fit for purpose’ of
open courses should still be undertaken, and repurposing of content may be required to meet the needs
of the local institution and community expectations. Importantly, reusing an open course still assumes
the same rigour of learning design evident in any other traditionally-authored university course and it
must meet the standards of both the institution and any relevant accrediting body.
Such work presupposes a skill set in working with openly licenced content; so any university consid-
ering this approach will need a clear professional development strategy to support staff and to promote
the shifts in thinking required to move from teacher as knowledge owner to teacher as expert curator.
The converse support issue in this environment relates to the student, and issues surrounding equity
of access to support mechanisms may arise. The support channels need to be articulated to enrolled
students (as with any other course offering), but the question of supporting open learners does arise.
Whilst open courses do offer the opportunity to re-examine disaggregated services, such as support and
assessment (Anderson & McGreal, 2012), caution should be exercised in doing so. In a disaggregated
model, a university would be able to charge for each discrete service; so learners who took an open
course without being assessed would pay less (or ideally nothing) than those who did seek credit. Fees
for assessment could likewise be tiered, but if a university were to “offer a cheaper assessment price for
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
grading without formative feedback” they would need to consider the academic ramifications of such a
decision, how this influences the role of assessment in the course, and the depth of learning that such
a decision supports (Conrad, Mackintosh, McGreal, Murphy, & Witthaus, 2013, p. 37). The separation
of assessment from learning could have significant ramifications for the outcomes of learning because
a schism could appear in the alignment of the curriculum in a disaggregated model. Quality assurance
of learning and certification of its outputs become problematic so new ways of aligning and assessing
learning outcomes and arranging academic support for students will be needed.
In the Report on the assessment and accreditation of learners using OER, Conrad et al. (2013, pp.
36-42) speculatively suggest five emerging models for the integration and accreditation of open courses:
Single institution parallel delivery for free learners; wherein an institution offers both the open
course and associated credit against degrees offered by that institution.
Reuse OER course with own assessment package for unspecified credits; wherein the institution
revises the content of an open course developed by another institution but offers credit locally, and
assigns a credit value based on local contexts and needs.
Reuse OER course and local RPL policies for assessment (or credit transfer) towards a local cre-
dential; occurs when an institution revises the content of an open course developed by another in-
stitution and uses existing Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policies to enable credit transfer.
Reuse OER course for local delivery in parallel mode, using own course assessment package, for
credits towards own credential; the institution revises the content of an open course developed
by another institution but offers credit locally. The ‘parallel delivery’ refers to the course of-
fered for fee-paying students as well as a free open offer (perhaps with cost-recovery assessment
Reuse OER course and assessment package for credits towards own credential; wherein the insti-
tution uses ‘as is’ an open course and the accompanying assessment developed by another univer-
sity as part of a formal degree. This does not preclude parallel delivery of the course.
At the core of each of these scenarios are two elements. Firstly, the materials created are designed
from the outset to be re-useable and customisable; whether through the pedagogical design of the learning
activities, a simple application of a Free Cultural Works Licence, or a combination of the two. Secondly,
the customisation principles allow enough flexibility for localisation - whether repurpose for learning
and teaching needs or for credit-awarding processes.
One of the major challenges that this sort of a model will face in terms of widespread adoption is
seeking engagement from stakeholders outside of the OEP community (van Wyk, 2012). Also, as men-
tioned previously in this chapter, awareness-raising becomes an institutional priority for any university
with a serious intent to pursue an open teaching model. This extends to:
Intellectual property considerations and other institutional policy reviews (Atkins, Brown, &
Hammond, 2007; Masson & Udas, 2009).
An understanding of the quality of teaching and learning practices that support purposeful en-
gagement with OEP (Geser, 2012; Wiley & Gurrell, 2009).
Storage and dissemination of locally authored and adapted works.
Staff development to build capacity in OEP (Bossu et al., 2014; Downes, 2007; Ehlers & Conole,
Toward an Open Empowered Learning Model of Pedagogy in Higher Education
Reward and recognition for open educational practice (Bossu et al., 2014).
Identifying institutional ‘champions’ for OEP (Hylen, 2006).
Awarding credit for open learning experiences within the formal degree structure (Geith & Stagg,
The challenge of awarding credit for open educational experiences is - by necessity - one aspect of
the much larger organisational change required to support open education. A second major challenge
relates to provision of support to students who wish to gain formal recognition but who have experienced
educational disadvantage and may not be well prepared for study. This is an area where the OEP move-
ment needs focus but that should be the subject of further work.
In this chapter, we presented and discussed some of the issues involving OEP that we have been facing,
working on and researching in the last couple of years or so. Some of these issues are transforming and
challenging the core values and structures of higher education in Australia and around the world. From
the way learners are now experiencing learning, to how learning should be designed to maximise these
experiences, to the current role of educators and the new strategies and support required from educational
institutions to recognise and accredit such learning. In addition, we reflected on approaches that institu-
tions and their stakeholders should consider while engaging in OEP. Finally, we revised and remixed a
learner centred model (Smyth, 2011) to incorporate some of the current transformation in pedagogy and
curriculum brought by openness. We hope that the revised model (Open Empowered Learning Model)
will prompt discussion about ways in which learners and educators in particular, and educational insti-
tutions in general, are able to maximise the opportunities of fully open ecosystems; where learners are
empowered and the co-creators of knowledge, while educators are considered more to be moderators of
learning and expert curators, and educational institutions are places where innovation and learning are
nurtured, validated and encouraged.
Nevertheless, we would like to highlight that the Open Empowered Learning Model is not a rigid
model and should be adapted, changed and further developed to meet the needs of those using it. We
are offering it for reuse, revision, remixing and redistribution, being well aware that the OEP movement
is still in its infancy and evolving rapidly, and that there are many alternatives to explore and lessons to
be learned from it. This is just the beginning…
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Curation: An active process whereby content/artefacts are purposely selected to be preserved for
future access. In the digital environment, additional elements can be leveraged, such as the inclusion
of social media to disseminate collected content, the ability for other users to suggest content or leave
comments and the critical evaluation and selection of aggregated content. This latter part especially is
important in defining this as an active process (Antonio et al., 2012).
Learning Design: A methodology for enabling teachers/designers to make informed decisions in
how they go about designing learning activities and interventions, which is pedagogically informed and
makes effective use of appropriate resources and technologies (Conole, 2013, p. 7).
Massive Open Online Courses: MOOCs are courses available for free and online from some of the
world’s best known universities (Wappett, 2012, para 5).
Open Educational Practices: OEP constitute the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER)
within open learning ecologies (Open Education Quality Initiative, 2011).
Open Educational Resources: OER are educational materials which are licensed in ways that provide
permissions for individuals and institutions to reuse, adapt and modify the materials for their own use.
Pedagogy: The means used to stimulate learning rather than the more traditional function or “work
of a teacher; teaching; the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods” (Pedagogy, n.d.).
Transformative Learning: “Is learning that transforms problematic frames of reference—sets of
fixed assumptions and expectations (habits of mind, meaning perspectives, mindsets)—to make them
more inclusive, discriminating, open, reflective, and emotionally able to change. Such frames of refer-
ence are better than others because they are more likely to generate beliefs and opinions that will prove
more true or justified to guide action” (Mezirow, 2003, pp. 58-59).
... At the individual level, OEP can create opportunities for further collaboration not only among teachers but also between teachers and students within UTAS and beyond. Specifically for students, OER and OEP opens up incredible opportunities via more flexible study modes, co-creation of educational content and alternative pathways to education (Smyth, Bossu and Stagg, 2016). ...
... One of them is to continue to raise awareness of OER and OEP among educators and students, but most importantly among senior executives. A lack of understanding among senior executives means that support through policy development and financial assistance will not be available, thus uptake and implementation is unlikely to happen (Smyth, Bossu and Stagg, 2016). Even though the number of academics attending capacity-building workshops and interested in adopting OEP into their practices is considerably positive, this interest is not reflected in the number of OER uploaded into the institutional Learning Object Repository (LOR). ...
... OEP can bring many opportunities to UFPR and its partner institutions within the REA PARANÁ consortium. Perhaps a key opportunity is that OEP challenges existing traditional educational models within these institutions as it promotes student-centred educational practices, student co-creation of resources, flexible learning and open pedagogies (Smyth, Bossu and Stagg, 2016), thus exposing educators and students to innovative approaches to learning and teaching that can be adopted across different modes of studies. Another opportunity for the institutions within the REA PARANÁ consortium is to continue collaborating with each other to develop, share and disseminate OER through their open repositories. ...
Full-text available
This paper explores some key developments in Open Educational Practices (OEP) in higher education in Australia and in Brazil. More specifically, it focuses on the analysis of two individual universities: the University of Tasmania, in Australia; and the Federal University of Paraná, in Brazil. They are both public and mostly face-to-face universities trying to engage with OEP to enhance their blended learning offerings, and more generally learning and teaching. However, these institutions are distinctive in terms of their student numbers, their blended learning approaches, their role within their own communities, and their OEP strategies and initiatives. We will present some of the key policies and strategies adopted by these universities to support OEP, as well as the impact and the opportunities at present. The discussion in this paper will then attempt to make some recommendations for future directions of OEP adoption not only in these two countries, but also elsewhere.
... This accessibility is valuable as technical skills update more frequently and the number of people seeking technical skills increases. While many of these learning environments have great potential and enrollment (Smyth et al., 2016), they have not been the drivers of education equality that providers had hoped (Downes, 2013;Littlejohn et al., 2008). Only a small percentage of students who already have effective learning and self-regulation strategies succeed without the personalized instructional support that is typical of smaller face-to-face courses (García Espinosa et al., 2015;Kizilcec et al., 2017;Rohs & Ganz, 2015). ...
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Procedural problem solving is an important skill in most technical domains, like programming, but many students reach problem solving impasses and flounder. In most formal learning environments, instructors help students to overcome problem solving impasses by scaffolding initial problem solving. Relying on this type of personalized interaction, however, limits the scale of formal instruction in technical domains, or it limits the efficacy of learning environments without it, like many scalable online learning environments. The present experimental study explored whether learners’ self-explanations of worked examples could be used to provide personalized but non-adaptive scaffolding during initial problem solving to improve later performance. Participants who received their own self-explanations as scaffolding for practice problems performed better on a later problem-solving test than participants who did not receive scaffolding or who received expert’s explanations as scaffolding. These instructional materials were not adaptive, making them easy to distribute at scale, but the use of the learner’s own explanations as scaffolding made them effective.
... However, the fact that this narrative is now frequently experienced as counter-traditional is perhaps why OE is frequently understood as a revolutionary social movement rather than simply a pedagogic or technical strategy. Going beyond opening content toward opening the underpinning pedagogical model (Smyth, Bossu, and Stagg 2016), whether by openly sharing teaching materials, opening discussions to wider audiences or publishing students assignments openly, represents a significant rupture with default, accepted norms of practice which is likely to, at least initially, be troublesome indeed. ...
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In this article, we propose a cross-pollination of two prominent lines of educational thought: open education (OE) and threshold concepts (TCs). Open education has gained an increased profile through the growing popularity of open educational resources (OER) and massive online open courses (MOOCs). Educators who create or make use of such resources, or employ related open educational practices (OEP), are often suggested to have a transformative impact in educational settings. In recent years, educational research has increasingly discussed learning as a process of attaining or crossing certain conceptual thresholds, which involve such a significant shift that the learner eventually achieves a different and deeper understanding of core disciplinary knowledge, even a new identity. Of the eight characteristics of TCs identified in the core literature of this theory, we consider that three in particular offer the maximum potential for understanding the evolution of teachers towards the open educator identity: transformative, troublesome and liminal. This work presents a theoretical framework that includes the transformative impact on identity in the process of becoming an open educator, the troublesomeness inherent in this evolution and the liminal space through which the evolving teachers progress. It is argued that a focus on the development of open educator identity aligns with current reflective approaches to working on teachers’ professional identity, and at the same time supports a focus on teachers’ commitment to a democratic approach to education, which is necessary in neoliberal times.
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The article is devoted to the problem of studying the professional development of teachers of science and mathematics education and technology in the conditions of martial law. The purpose of the article is to characterize open educational platforms for the professional development of teachers of science and mathematics education and technology. These platforms include: the social project «Coaching for Ukraine» created by the AcademyOcean team, which operates with the support of the state; training courses for teachers on the Prometheus+ platform; professional development courses on the Iteacher platform; the Ukrainian educational online portal for teachers «Na urok»; the educational project «Vseosvita»; and the online education studio Educational Era (EdEra). The experience of the Institute of Postgraduate Education of Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, where instructors have developed and implemented original training courses for teachers with different levels of digital competence, is highlighted. It is emphasized that the professional development of teachers with the active use of open educational platforms takes place in accordance with the principles of open education. It has been found that the content of the in-service training of teachers of science and mathematics education and technology in the context of the use of digital tools in the educational process contributes to the renewal of the organization of the educational environment of a general secondary education institution in a remote mode, highlights the features of the learning process organization of students in synchronous and asynchronous modes. It has been proven that the use of digital tools by a teacher is closely related to his digital competence, which needs attention from the professional development system.
This paper examines the involvement of sixteen undergraduate students across four disciplines in a practice-led research project to create the “Once Upon a Time in Palestine” XR documentary by exploring how they performed when given complex challenges, to create this novel and complex practice-led research project. The students were trained and mentored but also were trusted to work under minimal supervision. This created a high level of engagement with the expectation of high-quality output and presented the students with opportunities not afforded to them within the rigid structure of their academic programs. This paper examines the engagement of the students, and their willingness to learn new technologies and apply this learning to produce high quality output under tight deadlines with minimal supervision and the value of interdisciplinary collaboration across multiple fields of study. The paper concludes that while there was a steep learning curve, the students were able to achieve high-level engagement and produce professional results within the specified deadlines, using the latest technological advances in the field, while learning new skills outside their academic program and also enhancing the outcome of the successful project.
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In Spring 2019, students at The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh (SUNY Plattsburgh) researched, designed, and built And Still We Rise: Celebrating Plattsburgh’s (Re)Discovery of Iconic Black Visitors (ASWR), an exhibit in the Feinberg Library on prominent Black political and cultural figures who had visited the college since the 1960s. The thirteen students in African-American Political Thought (Political Science 371), taught by Dr. John McMahon, researched in the college’s archives and secondary sources to curate photos, text and multimedia for physical and virtual exhibits. McMahon conceived of the project as putting into practice a vital component of Black political thought—that it is public in its call for transformation. This thought was not limited to academic books and articles alone, but rather insisted upon the connection of theory to practice and found its audience in speeches, pamphlets, music, film, and the like—all forms represented in the course material. McMahon wanted to design a project for the course that would affirm this element of Black political thought and present its own public challenge. He had also learned from colleagues at his previous institution (particularly from faculty women of color) who developed public-facing projects about race and racism and/or had students draw on campus collections to create a public exhibit. Moreover, McMahon sought to use the course to engage with and provide political reflection upon campus conversations about race and racism. These concerns, in conjunction with his early dialogue with Librarian Timothy Hartnett, led to the initial ideas for the project. He would ask that students investigate the College Archives to find information about the Black political and cultural figures who had held events at SUNY Plattsburgh. The aim was to collectively create a public exhibit to be displayed in the library, presenting this political history to the campus as a whole and declaring that Black lives matter.
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Selfgerigte leer (SGL) word in een-en-twintigste-eeuse raamwerke as ʼn kritieke vaardigheid vir leerders beskou ten einde hulle te kan voorberei op ʼn onvoorspelbare, snelveranderende opvoedingswêreld, waar gefokus moet word op die eise van die vierde industriële revolusie. Hierby aansluitend behoort 'n geslaagde onderwysstelsel die leemte tussen hoe en wat leerders leer en wat die ekonomie vereis sinvol aan te spreek deur geskooldes toe te rus om vaardighede te ontwikkel wat tersaaklik vir die arbeidsomgewing is. Die rasionaal van hierdie artikel is derhalwe dat opvoedkundige investering in die ekonomie - en daarmee skoling van leerders in voortgesette (lewenslange) SGL - onontbeerlik is en 'n sinvolle onderwysstelsel onderlê.
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The role of distance education is shifting. Traditionally distance education was limited in the number of people served because of production, reproduction, and distribution costs. Today, while it still costs the university time and money to produce a course, technology has made it such that reproduction costs are almost non-existent. This shift has significant implications, and allows distance educators to play an important role in the fulfillment of the promise of the right to universal education. At little or no cost, universities can make their content available to millions. This content has the potential to substantially improve the quality of life of learners around the world. New distance education technologies, such as OpenCourseWares, act as enablers to achieving the universal right to education. These technologies, and the associated changes in the cost of providing access to education, change distance education's role from one of classroom alternative to one of social transformer.
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This paper presents the initial findings of the OPAL project. OPAL aims to move beyond a focus on the development of open educational resources (OER) to articulation of the associated open educational practices (OEP) around the creation, use and management of OER. In this paper we provide a definition of Open educational practices, along with an associated set of dimensions. We describe how these were derived based on an extensive survey and analysis of OER case studies. The article focuses on three aspects: First it provides a working definition of open educational practices and articulates how better understanding of OEP might lead to enhancements in both quality and innovation in education. Secondly it is discusses the ways in which adopting more 'open' approaches to educational practices might impact on the quality of education. Thirdly, the case study findings are presented and the ways in which the different stakeholders involved influence open educational practices are discussed.
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p>Open educational resources (OER) can be described in numerous ways (Creative Commons, 2012). In this visualization based context, however, OER can be defined as …teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (Hewlett Foundation, 2007) This definition emphasizes some of the aspects highlighted in this article, namely that an OER approach has also been taken to capture and visualize OER materials. In addition reference is made to the forthcoming paper, “How Diagrams Aid Teaching and Learning in STEM Subjects as Exemplified by the Teaching and Learning of Systems Thinking in Practice” (Lane, 2012, in press), which outlines how the educational process often involves a mediated discourse between teachers and learners to aid sense or meaning for both parties.</p
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MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the educational buzzword of 2012. Media frenzy surrounds them and commercial interests have moved in. Sober analysis is overwhelmed by apocalyptic predictions that ignore the history of earlier educational technology fads. The paper describes the short history of MOOCs and sets them in the wider context of the evolution of educational technology and open/distance learning. While the hype about MOOCs presaging a revolution in higher education has focussed on their scale, the real revolution is that universities with scarcity at the heart of their business models are embracing openness. We explore the paradoxes that permeate the MOOCs movement and explode some myths enlisted in its support. The competition inherent in the gadarene rush to offer MOOCs will create a sea change by obliging participating institutions to revisit their missions and focus on teaching quality and students as never before. It could also create a welcome deflationary trend in the costs of higher education. Explanatory Note During my time as a Fellow at the Korea National Open University (KNOU) in September 2012 media and web coverage of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) was intense. Since one of the requirements of the fellowship was a research paper, exploring the phenomenon of MOOCs seemed an appropriate topic. This essay had to be submitted to KNOU on 25 September 2012 but the MOOCs story is still evolving rapidly. I shall continue to follow it. 'What is new is not true, and what is true is not new'. Hans Eysenck on Freudianism This paper is published by JIME following its first release as a paper produced as part of a fellowship at the Korea National Open University (KNOU). Both the original and this republication are available non-exclusively under Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY). Apart from this note and minor editorial adjustments the paper is unchanged. Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE
Technical Report
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For the 2014 student techology use study, ECAR collaborated with 213 institutions to collect responses from 75,306 undergraduate students about their technology experiences. Key Findings Selected findings are below. See the report for a comprehensive list. Technology is embedded into students’ lives, and students are generally inclined to use and to have favorable attitudes toward technology. However, technology has only a moderate influence on students’ active involvement in particular courses or as a connector with other students and faculty. Students’ academic use of technology is widespread but not deep. They are particularly interested in expanding the use of a few specific technologies. Many students use mobile devices for academic purposes. Their in-class use is more likely when instructors encourage such use; however, both faculty and students are concerned about their potential for distraction. More students than ever have experienced a digital learning environment. The majority say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work. Most students support institutional use of their data to advise them on academic progress in courses and programs. Many of the analytic functions students seek already exist in contemporary LMSs.
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The paper will argue that adopting a learning design methodology may provide a vehicle for enabling better design and reuse of Open Educational Resources (OERs). It will describe a learning design methodology, which is being developed and implemented at the Open University in the UK. The aim is to develop a ‘pick and mix’ learning design toolbox of different resources and tools to help designers/teachers make informed decisions about creating new or adapting existing learning activities. The methodology is applicable for designers/teachers designing in a traditional context – such as creation of materials as part of a formal curriculum, but also has value for those wanting to create OERs or adapt and repurpose existing OERs. With the increasing range of OERs now available through initiatives as part of the Open Courseware movement, we believe that methodologies, such as the one we describe in this paper, which can help guide reuse and adaptation will become increasingly important and arguably are an important aspect of ensuring longer term sustainability and uptake of OERs. Our approach adopts an empirically based approach to understanding and representing the design process. This includes a range of evaluation studies (capturing of case studies, interviews with designers/teachers, in-depth course evaluation and focus groups/workshops), which are helping to develop our understanding of how designers/teachers go about creating new learning activities. Alongside this we are collating an extensive set of tools and resources to support the design process, as well as developing a new Learning Design tool that helps teachers articulate and represent their design ideas. The paper will describe how we have adapted a mind mapping and argumentation tool, Compendium, for this purpose and how it is being used to help designers and teachers create and share learning activities. It will consider how initial evaluation of the use of the tool for learning design has been positive; users report that the tool is easy to use and helps them organise and articulate their learning designs. Importantly the tool also enables them to share and discuss their thinking about the design process. However it is also clear that visualising the design process is only one aspect of design, which is complex and multi-faceted.
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This summary document is written for the senior executives of higher education institutions, mostly Australian institutions. It explores the Feasibility Protocol, which is a key outcome of a research project titled “Adoption, use and management of Open Educational Resources to enhance teaching and learning in Australia”, primarily funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), but with support from DEHub also. Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) have been receiving global attention, especially in the last ten years, as the demand for open resources increases in all aspects of education and knowledge sharing and distribution. Despite some important Australian initiatives and policy developments regarding OER and OEP (discussed in detail in the full project report), the lack of explicit educationally‐oriented government policies appear to be limiting the process of OER adoption in Australia. To date, there have been few policy levers or enablers to encourage universities and other tertiary providers to pursue OER initiatives to better support current students, attract new ones and compete against other Australian and international institutions. We believe that the Feasibility Protocol is a valuable instrument to assist senior executives in making decisions regarding institutional adoption of OER and OEP. The Feasibility Protocol is a set of guiding principles that prompts questions and raises issues to be considered by universities and tertiary institutions wishing to take advantage of OER and OEP. More specifically, the protocol aims to assist senior executives, managers and policy makers to make informed decisions about the adoption of OER and OEP at several levels within their institution. Even though we are aware that the introduction of OER and OEP into mainstream higher education in Australia could have not only a global impact on the sector (e.g. meeting some of the Paris OER Declaration recommendations), but could also impact on small and isolated communities, as well as individuals outside the university sphere, this study is focused primarily on the higher education sector.
Elizabeth Ellsworth finds that critical pedagogy, as represented in her review of the literature, has developed along a highly abstract and Utopian line which does not necessarily sustain the daily workings of the education its supporters advocate. The author maintains that the discourse of critical pedagogy is based on rationalist assumptions that give rise to repressive myths. Ellsworth argues that if these assumptions, goals, implicit power dynamics, and issues of who produces valid knowledge remain untheorized and untouched, critical pedagogues will continue to perpetuate relations of domination in their classrooms. The author paints a complex portrait of the practice of teaching for liberation. She reflects on her own role as a White middle-class woman and professor engaged with a diverse group of students developing an antiracist course. Grounded in a clearly articulated political agenda and her experience as a feminist teacher, Ellsworth provides a critique of "empowerment," "student voice," "dialogue," and "critical reflection" and raises provocative issues about the nature of action for social change and knowledge.
In this paper we present a history of the idea of Open Educational Resources, overview the current state of the Open Educational Resources movement, report on critical issues facing the field in the immediate future, and present two new projects to watch in 2009.