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Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland.



The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has a strong social justice ethos. Based on this ethos, USQ is seeking to re-position and re-conceptualize itself as a university grounded in the principles of openness and open education. This chapter describes the experiences of USQ as it strives to build a culture of openness and agility and investigates the activities undertaken by USQ including the issues, barriers, challenges and opportunities faced. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the key lessons learnt from USQ’s journey to more fully embrace Open Educational Practice and culture. Reference: Udas, Ken, Helen Partridge, and Adrian Stagg. “Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland.” In Open Education: International Perspectives in Higher Education, edited by Patrick Blessinger, 321–341. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2016.
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Open Education
International Perspectives in
Higher Education
Edited by Patrick Blessinger and TJ Bliss
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ISBN Paperback: 978-1-78374-278-3
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Notes on Contributors viii
David Wiley
Patrick Blessinger and TJ Bliss
1. Introduction to Open Education: Towards a Human
Rights Theory
Patrick Blessinger and TJ Bliss
2. Emancipation through Open Education: Rhetoric or
Andy Lane
3. Technology Strategies for Open Educational Resource
Phil Barker and Lorna M. Campbell
4. Identifying Categories of Open Educational Resource
Martin Weller, Beatriz de los Arcos, Rob Farrow, Rebecca Pitt and
Patrick McAndrew
5. Situated Learning in Open Communities: The TED
Open Translation Project
Lidia Cámara de la Fuente and Anna Comas-Quinn
6. Educational Policy and Open Educational Practice
in Australian Higher Education
Adrian Stagg and Carina Bossu
7. The Identified Informal Learner: Recognizing Assessed
Learning in the Open
Patrina Law
8. Transformation of Teaching and Learning in Higher
Education towards Open Learning Arenas: A Question
of Quality
Ebba Ossiannilsson, Zehra Altinay, and Fahriye Altinay
9. Three Approaches to Open Textbook Development
Rajiv S. Jhangiani, Arthur G. Green, and John D. Belshaw
10. What Does It Mean to Open Education? Perspectives
on Using Open Educational Resources at a US Public
Linda Vanasupa, Amy Wiley, Lizabeth Schlemer, Dana Ospina,
Peter Schwartz, Deborah Wilhelm, Catherine Waitinas and Kellie Hall
11. Expanding Access to Science Field-Based Research
Techniques for Students at a Distance through Open
Educational Resources
Audeliz Matias, Kevin Woo, and Nathan Whitley-Grassi
12. A Practitioner’s Guide to Open Educational Resources:
A Case Study
Howard Miller
13. Open Assessment Resources for Deeper Learning
David Gibson, Dirk Ifenthaler, and Davor Orlic
14. Promoting Open Science and Research in Higher
Education: A Finnish Perspective
Ilkka Väänänen and Kati Peltonen
15. Credentials for Open Learning: Scalability and Validity
Mika Hoffman and Ruth Olmsted
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern
Ken Udas, Helen Partridge and Adrian Stagg
Index 343
This book is dedicated to educators all over the world and to the
members of the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Association whose passion for teaching, learning, research, and service
are helping to transform the academy in many positive ways.
Vision, mission, and values statement
The long-term vision of HETL is to improve educational outcomes
in higher education by creating new knowledge and advancing the
scholarship and practice of teaching and learning.
To bring that vision to reality, the present mission of HETL is to
develop a global community of higher education professionals who
come together to share their knowledge and expertise in teaching and
To effectively fulfill that mission, HETL adheres to the values of
academic integrity, collegiality, and diversity. As such, HETL supports
academic and pedagogical pluralism, diversity of learning, as well as
practices that promote sustainable learning and peace.
Membership, conference, publishing, and
research information
For information about HETL, please see
Patrick Blessinger
Founder, Director, and Chief Research Scientist
The HETL Association
Lorraine Stefani
The HETL Association
16. Open Education Practice at the
University of Southern Queensland
Ken Udas, Helen Partridge and Adrian Stagg
The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has a strong social
justice ethos. Based on this ethos, USQ is seeking to re-position
and re-conceptualize itself as a university grounded in the
principles of openness and open education. This chapter describes
the experiences of USQ as it strives to build a culture of openness
and agility and investigates the activities undertaken by USQ
including the issues, barriers, challenges and opportunities faced.
The chapter concludes with a discussion of the key lessons learnt
from USQ’s journey to more fully embrace Open Educational
Practice and culture.
© K. Udas, H. Partridge and A. Stagg, CC BY 4.0 hp://
322 Open Education
This contribution describes the experiences of the University of
Southern Queensland (USQ) as it strives to build a culture of openness
and agility. The aim of this chapter it to give a comprehensive overview
of one university’s journey to re-position and re-conceptualize itself for
openness, including the activities undertaken and the issues, barriers,
challenges and opportunities faced. USQ is a regional Australian
university offering a broad range of academic programming at the
undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It has been a leader in distance
learning since the 1970s and currently 75% of the University’s 28,000
students undertake their studies via online or distance modes. The
University has a strong ethos and reputation for serving people that are
generally under-represented in higher education. Its student population
includes part-time working students, people from socioeconomically
disadvantaged backgrounds, and from remote and rural areas. With
a strong social justice ethos it is therefore not surprising that USQ is
seeking to embrace the principles and practices of openness and open
education. We begin with a brief review of relevant literature before
providing an overview of USQ with specific focus on the evolving focus
and support for Open Educational Practice. The chapter concludes by
discussing USQ’s key lessons learnt and the next steps.
Literature review
Open Educational Practice (OEP), like online learning, has the potential
to transform higher education learning and teaching (Bossu, Bull and
Brown, 2012). OEP refers to the teaching techniques that draw upon
open technologies and high-quality open educational resources (OER) in
order to facilitate collaborative and flexible learning (Beetham, Falconer,
McGill and Littlejohn, 2012). OER, which are defined as “teaching,
learning and research materials that make use of appropriate tools, such
as open licensing, to permit their free reuse, continuous improvement
and repurposing by others for educational purposes” (Orr, Rimini and
Van Damme, 2015, p. 17) are a key mechanism for this collaboration.
The broader term OEP includes Open Access Publishing (OA), Free and
Open Source Software (FOSS), open policy, open textbooks, open data,
open research and, more broadly, open education.
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
OEP has been perceived as response to the need for affordable,
equitable access to education and as a way for institutions to meet the
rising demand globally for university education (Bossu, Brown and
Bull, 2012). Whilst open education can be pursued for on-campus degree
programs, the benefits have been discussed primarily for distance and
online education as a way of broadening access to students whilst
potentially reducing the costs associated with studying at university
(Scanlon, McAndrew and O’Shea, 2015). Open education could
provide lower- or no-cost resources to support education in rural and
remote communities, and also empower learner-centered educational
approaches that build contextual cultural competencies within specific
student cohorts (Willems and Bossu, 2012).
When compared to initiatives and engagement with open education
in countries such as Canada, North America and the United Kingdom;
Australian open practice is still maturing (Bossu and Tynan, 2011). The
three current key focus areas arising from the global literature with
particular application to the Australian context are (1) policy frameworks,
(2) open textbooks and (3) formal support for staff capacity-building.
It will be demonstrated that the University of Southern Queensland,
through exploratory and developing initiatives, is addressing these
priority areas.
Global challenges for the open education movement are mirrored
in the Australian environment, although some factors are of particular
concern nationally. The lack of practitioner adoption globally has
been attributed to low awareness, a perceived lack of quality in open
resources, low interest in investing time to author OER, an absence
of extrinsic motivators such as institutional reward and recognition
programs, and a lack of formal institutional-level support to build staff
capacity (Bossu, Bull and Brown, 2012).
In the Australian higher education sector, there is also a lack of
regulatory frameworks or policy relating to, or supporting OEP (Bossu
and Fountain, 2015), a lack of evidence- and practice-based research
(Stagg, 2014) or empirical research about the impact of openness on
the sector (Murphy, 2012), and a rising need to reconcile government
and institutional copyright policy frameworks with the environment
required to fulsomely engage with Open Educational Practice (Padgett,
324 Open Education
In order to create an environment where taxpayers experience
transparency in government processes (as appropriate) and access to
publicly-funded research outcomes, the Australian Government has
adopted open principles to license government data (ANDS, 2015),
encouraged the selection of open source software in the first instance
(Australian Government, 2011), funded open data sets (ANDS, 2015),
a National Digital Learning Resource Network (Education Services
Australia, 2012), and a nascent Open Access and Licensing Framework
(AusGOAL, 2011).
Despite these initiatives, there has been no mandate, nor even a
consolidated approach to open educational policy in Australian higher
education. Some Australian institutions have enacted policy linking
engagement with OEP to formal recognition and promotion (UTas, 2014)
whilst many others have purely focused on open research outcomes and
data with little attention to learning and teaching.
There is strong conceptual alignment between the goals of OEP
and the recent “Keep it Clever” statement on education (Universities
Australia, 2015), but, as yet, explicit discussion about this alignment
has been absent. The “Keep it Clever” policy document contextualizes
the discussion by stating that educational investment is directly linked
to future positive economic growth and international competitiveness
(Universities Australia, 2015). In order to do so, it calls for “a new social
contract with the Australian public” (p. 4, own emphasis). If the term
“social contract” is used in a historically philosophical sense, this policy
document is both conceptually aligned and politically sympathetic with
openness. The principles outlined in the statement refer to:
Accessibility — that Australians should be able to readily access a
university education;
Affordability — that the cost of higher education should not be such
that it excludes segments of Australian society;
Quality — which refers to the international quality of both teaching and
learning, and research endeavors;
Research capability — in that universities have a broader societal role in
the generation of knowledge;
Resourcing — especially calls for sustainable models of education; and
Accountability — infers not only accountability but transparency for
the return on investment for taxpayer funds (p. 5).
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
Open education systems can be leveraged to influence positive
outcomes indexed against all these criteria, however the systems are not
referenced within the document. This perhaps illustrates a stark gap
in national advocacy and political lobbying for open education in the
Australian landscape.
The use of “new social contract” in the preamble (p. 4) invites deeper
exploration of the status of open education in the proposed educational
future. The foundation of the social contract is that, in order to achieve
security and a civil good, citizens willingly cede some individual freedoms
to the state (Hobbes, 1651) — although Hobbes did admonish citizens to
be wary of submitting to systems that did not serve the ideal of “public
good”. In this way, the social contract is further aligned with Bakunin’s
collectivist anarchy movement of the mid-1800’s, which respected the
differences of individuals within society, but called for societal equality
and equity of access to “social rights” that included education (Masters,
1974). If one considers the assertion by open practitioners (McKerlich,
Ives and McGreal, 2013) that current educational models and copyright
policy frameworks are insufficient to meet the demands of equitably-
accessible twenty-first century education, then the “new social contract”
needs to strongly incorporate aspects of openness.
One could even posit that national openness is a response to ideals
that do not reflect those ideals of “social good”, and that the change
enacted by open practitioners is an approach consistent with Hobbes’
admonishment, by opening a traditionally closed and opaquely
accountable sector. These goals are consistent with both the policy
statement and open education overall and exploring these in more
detail provides a basis — both practically and philosophically — for
policy-supported practice.
The Keep it Clever policy statement, like the previous Review of
Australian Higher Education (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, and Scales, 2008)
espouses values that are conceptually and practically aligned with open
education — although the latter was far more proscriptive in setting
targets for the Australian sector in terms of participation and inclusion.
If the Keep it Clever principles are examined through an open lens, the
potential for OEP to be woven into national mechanisms becomes explicit.
Accessibility and affordability are conceptually underpinned by
social inclusion and the removal of barriers to a university education.
326 Open Education
Participation in higher education (especially for indigenous, rural and
remote, and low socio-economic status students) has featured in public
educational policy since the early 1990’s, and arguably there has been
little overall success during this time period (Gale and Mills, 2013).
OEP provides a way to leverage reduced-cost or free learning resources
(especially in terms of textbooks), which addresses a significant access
barrier for Australian students. Likewise, authentically open courses can
provide students with a transparent view of university education and
even assist students to transition into their first year by “demystifying”
“university education — a key component of nationally recognized
transitional pedagogy (Kift, Nelson and Clarke, 2010).
There are claims that by providing international access to OER
that the quality of learning and teaching resources can be improved.
A transparent teaching environment provides access to others’ work,
which can be translated and synthesized into local teaching practice
contexts by both educators and students (Bossu and Tynan, 2011).
Australian research capacity can be enhanced by opening access to
research data and published output with the realization that data sets
and publications can become OER when used for learning and teaching
purposes. Increased access to Australian research and data has the
potential to broaden collaboration (especially internationally and cross-
discipline), provide replicable or comparative data sets and also build a
strong foundation for future research.
The aforementioned need for sustainable educational systems in the
face of rising demand will need appropriate resourcing. Whilst open
business models are still maturing (Butcher and Hoosen, 2011), open
institutions are re-evaluating the balance between open content and
commercialization. Additionally, the notion of reputational capital in
higher education — gained through transparency and openness — is
gaining traction. Whilst universities have traditionally focused on
commercializing research output there is a growing acceptance of the
societal role of universities in knowledge construction. The traditionally
espoused value of knowledge construction and dissemination is
transitioning to an enacted value — in part due to the role of openness.
Given the publicly funded nature of education, a level of accountability
should be expected in both research and learning and teaching. Open
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
education systems have the potential to make the teaching resources
and, in a small part, the learning experience, transparent to the sector.
The current weakness in open rhetoric internationally has been
practicality (or a lack thereof). Evidence exists demonstrating that OEP
is, after ten years, neither widespread nor well-known (Conole, 2013),
and is far from mainstream practice (Lane and McAndrew, 2010). This
is certainly the case in Australia.
One of the key areas requiring significant development is internal
staff capacity building. Staff capacity development is essential to
successful engagement with OEP as there are inherent complexities that
have been mostly unexplored through empirical research (Stagg, 2014).
A review of institutional websites shows that many universities
currently have a general information webpage about open
resources — accessible to both staff and students — and that enquiries
are directed to the library. Open access to research and providing
information supporting open publishing models appears far more
frequently. The University of Southern Queensland and the University
of Tasmania were the only institutions that had visible resources
contextualized for the learner (whether staff or students) to explicitly
guide the user through the use of open resources and the possible
benefits to teaching and learning practices. This approach mirrors the
maturation of the open discourse internationally; initiating intended
change through a focus on access to resources and the subsequent
realization that this was an insufficient catalyst alone.
This perception is perhaps exacerbated by open education research,
which often over-simplifies the practitioner experience in (re)using
OER by either presenting the activity as a linear process or using lead-in
fictional use cases that exemplify “best experience” rather than ones
grounded in the complex reality of reuse (Wenk, 2010). This further
illuminates a professional development gap at the institutional and
sector level in Australia.
Any attempt to promote sustainable engagement with open education
needs to acknowledge staff learning challenges and offer a mechanism
to frame strategic responses grounded in institutional needs, which
has yet to occur in an holistic, integrated manner in Australian higher
328 Open Education
The University of Southern Queensland
The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is based in Toowoomba,
Queensland, Australia, with campuses also in Springfield and Ipswich.
The institution was established in 1967 as the Queensland Institute of
Technology (Darling Downs). In 1971, it became the Darling Downs
Institute of Advanced Education, then the University College of Southern
Queensland in 1990 and finally the University of Southern Queensland
in 1992. In less than fifty years, USQ has become a prominent teaching
and research institution providing education worldwide. In its short
history, USQ has grown rapidly in size and complexity.
USQ consists of five divisions: (i) Academic Division has overall
responsibility for the University’s academic program portfolio; its
continuous improvement, and its quality delivery across all campuses;
(ii) Academic Services Division supports the learning, teaching
and research needs of the University; (iii) Research and Innovation
Division coordinates the University’s research agenda; (iv) Students
and Communities Division is responsible for supporting the student
experience and building relationships with current, future and
past student communities; and (v) University Services Division has
oversight of University finance, human resources, sustainable business
management and improvement and campus services.
USQ’s Academic Division consists of two faculties: the Faculty
of Business, Education, Law and Arts (BELA) consists of six schools:
(i) School of Arts and Communication; (ii) School of Commerce;
(iii) School of Law and Justice; (iv) School of Linguistics, Adult and
Specialist Education; (v) School of Management and Enterprise; (vi)
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood. The Faculty of
Health, Engineering and Sciences (HES) consists of six schools: (i)
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences; (ii)
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying; and (iii) School of Nursing
and Midwifery; (iv) School of Health and Wellbeing; (v) School of
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and (vi) School of Psychology
and Counselling. In addition, USQ has three colleges: the Open Access
College, College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research, and
the Queensland College of Wine Tourism. The University has three
research institutes:
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI).
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment (IAgE).
Institute for Resilient Regions (IRR).
USQ has a diverse student population, including undergraduate and
postgraduate students from more than 100 countries, with more than
80 nationalities. The current student enrolment is approximately 28,000
and, of this total, more than 20,000 study off-campus by online/distance
learning. Just over 54% of the students are female, over one quarter are
classified as low socio-economic status and only 10% are first school
In 2013, 496 Higher Degree Research students, 4,433 Higher Degree
Coursework and 14,930 Bachelor level students were enrolled at USQ.
In 2013, over 5,000 international students were enrolled, with 1,797
students studying on-campus and the reminder studying outside
Australia either through USQ Education Partners or directly with USQ.
The USQ Strategic Plan 2016-2020 is built on three pillars — Education,
Research, Enriched and Enterprise. The Plan guides the University
in delivering its mission, which is “to lead in economic and social
development through higher education and research excellence”:
Education: USQ successfully blends access with excellence and is a
leading university for student experience and graduate outcomes.
Research: USQ is internationally recognized for high impact research
in our areas of research focus.
Enterprise: USQ is a socially responsible and well managed enterprise
with a work culture that promotes high performance and is reflective
of our values.
USQ and the Conundrum of Openness
The topic of OEP can seem counter-intuitive. After all, it seems natural
that the University would create value through limiting access to data,
information and knowledge generating a market based on constraint.
The internet of ideas makes information markets based on restriction
very expensive to create and protect, while contributing and using the
open market of ideas and artefacts potentially reduces a range of costs
and may increase margins for the University’s core product offerings.
330 Open Education
As will be mentioned in the coming paragraphs, Openness is not an
all or nothing proposition. Although one might argue that there is
value that the University can derive from limitation (its credentials
and patentable discoveries, for instance), but not from unnecessarily
limiting access to the information it uses for the purposes of learning and
teaching. Openness need not simply be accepted as an article of faith,
but it must be accepted in the spirit of the principles that provide the
contours of open practice. USQ has found an easy alignment between
the historical mission (based on the notion of social justice and access)
and the contemporary Open Educational Practice. For any institution,
the question of why openness is an attractive proposition is a critical
first step for purposeful engagement. In recent years, MOOCs (Massive
Open Online Courses) were a high profile example of international
engagement with perceived openness that was often neither connected
nor beneficial to institutional goals or the enhancement of learning and
teaching practice.
The following Openness Principles1 are therefore guiding USQ’s
OEP endeavors:
1 The following are some of the resources that influenced the development of the
proposed Openness Principles at USQ.
AACU: Academic Freedom and Educational Responsibility (
AAUP: 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure (http://www.aaup.
AAUP: Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications (
Coase’s Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm (
EDUCASUE Openness (
Free Cultural Works (
Future Learn (
Human Rights Initiative (
Oxford Scholarship Online: The Information Society and the Welfare State:
The Finnish Model (
Open Government (
Openness Index (
Open Science Commons (
Principles on Open Public Sector Information (
Unisa Open (
WikiEducator (
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
1. Openness as Core to Education and Social Justice: As an actor in the
twenty-first century, USQ understands that education is practiced
in a data, information, and knowledge ecosystem that is supported
by technical and social networks. Our principal role as a university
is to grow knowledge from more to more, while promoting social
progress and social justice. Open access is a principal factor in the
efficient and effective distribution of information for the growth of
knowledge and promotion of critical and reflective education leading
to civic capacity. We optimize our contribution to the open education
ecosystem by supporting the use and creation of free cultural works
that provide:2
a. the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it;
b. the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired
from it;
c. the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part,
of the information or expression; and
d. the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute
derivative works.
2. Respect for the Traditions of the Academy: Openness is a
fundamental tenant of academic freedom and responsibility for the
academy and the professoriate, striking at the very purpose of the
University and its singular role in free societies.
3. Do the Right Thing: Opening up educational resources for use,
re-use, and modification is a moral good and our academic,
professional, and managerial staff along with our partners should
look to contribute to the stock of open educational resources.
4. Think of our Students: Whenever possible the University should
default to OEP to reduce the overall cost of receiving a high quality,
accessible, and affordable education including the use of open
textbooks, journals, course materials, other supplementary content,
and technologies.
5. Access and Distribution with Respect: Individual learners, faculty,
and visitors to our sites must feel confident that they can participate
in a safe and secure environment for learning, which respects the
content they generate as part of their learning.
6. Default to Open: We believe that opening access to educational
resources is a moral good, and when permissions allow, we will
contribute any content or translations generated by our academic,
332 Open Education
professional, and managerial staff and community for the purposes
of learning, teaching, and scholarship as OERs under the Creative
Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
7. Lawful Practice: Our partner publishers and content suppliers need
to be able to make their own decisions about how their materials and
contributions are used. For partners who request that we restrict free
access to their content to a limited number or type of user, we respect
their requirements and manage their content with the appropriate
Digital Rights Management technology.3
8. Alignment with Public Good: The University of Southern
Queensland is aligned with the broad goals and application of the
Australian Governments Open Access and Licencing Framework
(AUSGoal)4 and Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s
Eight Principles on Open Public Sector Information in the context of
course materials and information management broadly:
a. Open access to information — a default position.
b. Engaging the community.
c. Effective information governance.
d. Robust information asset management.
e. Discoverable and useable information.
f. Clear reuse rights.
g. Appropriate charging for access.
h. Transparent enquiry and complaints processes.
9. Agility and Agile Practice: The University of Southern Queensland
strives to be an “agile” organization through the adoption of
agile management practices, for which Openness is an essential
Openness and Opportunities at USQ
The Openness movement is creating opportunities that challenge
traditional business and education models and may accelerate the use
and impact of information and communication technologies (ICT), new
media, online education and distributed learning. Although USQ was
an early leader in the OER movement, it has not taken full advantage of
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
that position. That being said, it is still in a position, with appropriate
leadership, to take uncommon advantage of opportunities and assert an
international leadership position in a new order. This will take fortitude,
bravery and willingness to experiment small, and fail early and often,
while succeeding with confidence and making those successes really
matter. Although OEP is a long-term journey that keeps renewing itself,
we need to recognize that others have taken steps by formalizing open
policies at the institutional level. Notable institutions include Lincoln
University (NZ), Otago Polytechnic (NZ), Athabasca University (CA),
the State University of New York (US) and many others.
By experimenting with and adopting open practice, we are practicing
in ways that optimize the value we create through the generation,
curation, use and reuse of information and knowledge assets. We will
also promote meaningful collaboration that brings tangible benefits to
the University, its learners, alumni and broader stakeholders. It helps us
better engage with our social justice mission and, as a public university,
provides us with a natural mechanism to maximize the value that every
Australian can receive from their publicly funded university sector.
Research among universities participating in some form of OEP has
indicated that the priority of the benefits of openness are as follows:
1. participating in an international network of like-minded partners;
2. philanthropic mission/social justice; and
3. new business opportunities.
According to almost every education report available today, twenty-
first century education will be different from the past. Our learners and
our funders will expect (if they do not already) and we will witness
increasingly (if we have not already) personalized, data driven and
technology-enabled learning opportunities. We will participate in the
continued disaggregation of educational services on the institutional
level, and we will facilitate the re-aggregation of education on the
personal level.
Although still under iterative development indicative of agile
methodologies, unique educational processes enabled through Open
Educational Practice are emerging within the OERu. This is evident in
the growing embrace of OER and of courses collaboratively designed
and developed by teams including content area specialists, educational
334 Open Education
technologists and instructional designers who are forging new
approaches to learning and teaching scholarship. This same approach,
supported through the pedagogy of discovery5 lends itself to courses
effectively designed through crowdsourcing, affinity grouping and
distributed educational activities. OERu has proposed a formal program
of Academic Volunteers International6 that was used during USQ’s
first OERu course offering. The course was intended to support peer
mentoring through critique and reflection and, more broadly, reflect
a gradual shift toward learner-centered pedagogies and competency-
based, outcomes-oriented approaches. Participation in twenty-first
century education will require agile organizational management and
governance, digital fluency and transparency that can only result
from open processes and practices and freely available content. The
internet and its presentation environment, the web, were architected to
liberate information, not to impose barriers. The corporatization of the
University demands creative and innovative approaches to a “market”
that feeds on agility. Open education is the natural consequence of and
catalyst for delivering education in such an environment and delivering
in such an environment sits at the very center of USQ’s learning and
teaching strategy.
Current Openness Activities at USQ
During the past five years, the University of Southern Queensland has
been building momentum in support of its commitment to OEP and
OERs. Although OEP is not an all or nothing strategy, it is one that
requires thoughtful engagement throughout the University. Fortunately,
successful OEP adoption tends to have low reputational risk because
adoption tends to be agile and incremental, so OEP can be integrated
into existing operations without incurring additional and significant
cost. However, because of its somewhat counter-intuitive nature, OEP
requires discipline about how we make important strategic as well as
6 OERu Proposal for action for Academic Volunteers International http://
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
operational decisions, the types of questions we ask of ourselves, and
how we structure those questions. For example:
how we build our intellectual property and copyright policy is
how we identify, select and prescribe textbooks and whether we
put the onus on explaining why we would assign an expensive
proprietary text or other resource when open and free alternatives
are available of similar quality.
assuming open licensing first of all and then only retaining all
reserved rights when there is a strong argument to doing so.
assessing accurately the costs and risks associated with closing
content and managing proprietary intellectual property.
how can we incentivize high quality open scholarship and publication
as appropriate.
how can we recognize and incentivize creative reuse, sharing and the
creation of high-quality localized or internationalized works.
clearly stating and practicing our values relative to our use and
distribution of publicly funded intellectual assets.
Although these are not the types of questions historically asked or
the standards adopted and set, they have recently become much
more clearly articulated in our work on an University IP policy, open
textbook proposal and early stages of a green paper prompting an
“open first” posture on educational content and learning technologies.
We are recognizing that simply asking the questions, publicly and with
conviction, helps promote critical thinking on the topic of openness,
creativity and innovation. Fortunately, USQ was an early adopter of
some aspects of open practice, which has generated a common identity
for a small group of academic and professional staff that have been
experimenting somewhat “under the radar”. The open practice that has
been pursued, although not fully embraced at the University, has been
enough to garner a small reputation for USQ as being a progressive
practitioner in the area.
The University’s current initiatives and activities fall under five
1. Open Educational Resources
a. active participation in the OERu.
336 Open Education
b. the first Australian university to join and contribute courses to the
Open Courseware Consortium (OCWC).7
c. faculty driven creation of an open textbook on Sports Physiology
that includes contributions from dozens of internationally leading
scholars who have made their contributions open for the text.
d. participation on an Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) Seed
Grant along with colleagues at the University of Tasmania to
experiment with the development of micro Open Online Courses
e. introduction of a USQ Open Textbook Grant Scheme in which,
through a competitive process, university academics receive
funds to use or develop an open text book.
f. introduction, in 2015, of a USQ eLearning Objects Repository
(eLOR) that helped reduce barriers to sharing content internally
within the University.
2. Open policy and practice
a. building a new capacity in open education environments to
improve authoring and delivering quality through investment
in better content management, intellectual property, licensing
control and enhanced discovery.
b. establishment of a working party with representatives across the
university to explore and articulate recommendations regarding
open content licensing practices.
c. Launch of the USQ Open Practice website (
au/open-practice) to provide a space to formally articulate and
share USQ’s commitment to openness.
d. having proposed and now developing a workflow and content
management environment supporting open licensing for course
3. Open research
a. building a new capacity to discover and index the discovery
of open research reports on a global scale through investment
in technology and expertise, taking advantage of structured
repositories of public research and teaching materials that have
not been adequately indexed by major search engines.
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
b. having developed relationships with USQ researchers to openly
publish open research outputs that can be used across the
curriculum for learning and teaching.
c. having a USQ ePrints repository to enable the sharing of research
outputs to the broader national and international community.
4. Open source software
a. leadership in a collaborative project with the Open Source
Initiative (OSI), Opman Group, Origin International Technology
Law Group and the OER Foundation to develop and deliver an
open course on Free, Libre and Open Works project management
b. first higher education affiliate with the OSI.
5. Open community participation
a. active participation in and creation of openly available resources
for Open Access Week, OER Week and Information and Library
Studies Week.
These efforts have built a sufficient capacity for the University to take
the next step, but without committing to do so, the USQ academics
will eventually run their course/s as open educators, find alternative
pursuits at USQ or gravitate to universities and other organizations that
value openness as a principle and innovate in their practices.
Change and Change Processes
As already mentioned, USQ has been involved with open educational
resources and open education more broadly for longer than a decade.
Some of our notable “firsts” included participation in the Open
Courseware Initiative in 2007, the OERu in 2011 and, most recently,
our affiliation with the Open Source Initiative in 2015. In very many
ways, early involvement in openness by people like Professor Emeritus
Jim Taylor on behalf of the University points to a very keen insight.
He saw that openness potentially strikes directly at the core purposes
of a university like USQ, which is committed to enhancing access to
learning. OERu provided a perfect pilot for USQ. It provided a need
to engage teachers in designing courses for an open environment, use
of open content and serious consideration of an educational model
based on credentials distributed among partner universities, course and
338 Open Education
content “owned” by a particular university, but freely available, and
without a clear sustainability model. USQ initially sought to engage
with openness through a series of small-scale, diverse projects. This
approach was designed as a multi-pronged capacity-building and
experiential learning strategy aiming for longer-term institutional
normalization. The actualization of this strategy has been a more
complex and resource-intensive undertaking.
We have become more active to incentivize engagement with a variety
of openness activities, some of which have been described to simply
illustrate how openness can liberate creativity. We have worked with
a handful of teachers to rethink the idea of a textbook so it is not only
open but is something fundamentally different than what proprietary
distributors of texts are willing to provide. We have come to grips with
the fact that it is difficult to reposition or re-conceptualize a university that
is growing, financially sound and well led like USQ, principally because
things are generally going well and there is a low sense of urgency. What
we can do is reduce the barriers to experimenting with openness, use
its language liberally, increase the viability of open options and make
decisions that place open first.
Lessons Learnt and Next Steps
It is not good enough to simply espouse openness as an “institutional
good”. Openness needs to be useful, as well, and its value needs to be
discovered and internalized locally, and in many cases individually. If
openness can help teachers more easily design their course, students
more affordably study, or the University be more creative and impactful
in its curriculum, program design and course offerings then openness
and open resources will more likely be adopted. We have learned that
open practice by academic staff needs to be an individual decision but
the University can reward and recognize open behavior and support
In addition to sponsoring projects which are designed to promote
open practices, making it easier to use open resources for course
design and promoting open distribution through modelling our own
practices, we are also ensuring that relevant university policies, such as
Intellectual Property, explicitly recognize open practice and that software
16. Open Education Practice at the University of Southern Queensland
procurement processes are open source friendly and consideration is
given to open technology standards and the consumption and creation
of open file formats. The coming year will see an active effort to engender
a university-wide dialogue about open practice as we launch a “green
paper” for open consultation, which will lead to more formal statements
about University commitment to open practice.
The University of Southern Queensland’s approach to openness has
been a decade-long steady march guided more by principle than
opportunity. As a university we have for the most part stayed away from
organizations and efforts that we perceive as “fauxpen” or engaging in
open washing”. We do not want to confuse the core meaning of open by
introducing predatory marketing into the community. As an institution,
we have also been rather pragmatic and are normally guided by efforts
that we think will either have direct positive outcomes for students
and members of the faculty, meet our educational goals, or promote a
broader open culture at the University. The University has found that
simply participating in genuine open activities and working with open
organizations like the OER Foundation, OERu and the OSI help us
refine our understanding of openness and our practice.
We believe that it is through thoughtful and methodical engagement
that we are developing a culture in which openness is a natural impulse
and those activities that promote closed culture and restrictions on the
free flow of information, knowledge and culture are understood for
what they are. The open impulse not only guides our decision-making
as institutional leaders charged with crafting policy and resourcing
decisions and as individual actors, but also promotes a culture with the
capacity to continuously improve our practice and seriously consider
the implications of agility.
340 Open Education
AusGOAL (2011), Australian Governments Open Access and Licencing Framework,
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the Horizon, 19(4), pp. 259–267,
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Higher Education: Final Report, Canberra: DEEWR.
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Masters, A. (1974), Bakunin, the Father of Anarchism, New York: Saturday Review
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Catalyst for Innovation, Educational Research and Innovation, Paris: OECD
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Open Education
Patrick Blessinger and TJ Bliss (eds.)
Open Educa on provides a great mix of research and authen c applica on of “open” in
educa on which is global in perspec ve. The contribu ons provide insigh ul evidence
that open educa on as an ecosystem is on the pping point of crossing the chasm from
sharing to learn to learning to share. This book is a must-read for those who care about
more sustainable educa on futures showing that open is a viable pathway to realising
educa on as a fundamental human right.
Wayne Mackintosh, Founding Director of the OER Founda on and the OER Universitas
In a  me of openness vs closure, collabora on vs compe on, eli sm vs democra sa on,
this volume presents a range of perspec ves that make a strong case for open educa on
in both the developed and developing worlds. A recommended read for all those
interested in transforming higher educa on. This book is a rich resource that illuminates
the diff erent dimensions of open educa on and its cri cal link to human rights. This
delivers a very important message: that open educa on is a powerful tool to throw open
the ivory towers and transform higher educa on in the 21st century.
Asha Kanwar, President & CEO, Commonwealth of Learning
Sustainable Development Goal 4 (United Na ons) enjoins us to ensure inclusive and
equitable quality educa on and promote lifelong learning opportuni es for all. While we
cannot rely on our current rigid and closed educa onal tradi ons to meet this goal, the
concepts of the open educa on movement provide some promise. The importance of
this book lies in its analysis of these concepts through the lens of the democra sa on of
educa on. Open is taken to enable far more than access - rather it focuses in on ideals of
diversity, inclusion, agency, equity and social jus ce, towards the fi nal goal of improving
learning for all.
Jenny Glennie, Head of Saide
As with all Open Book publica ons, this en re book is available to read for free on the
publisher ’s website. Printed and digital edi ons, together with supplementary digital
material, can also be found here:
Cover image: Oditel, Uganda (2011). Photo by Brian Wolfe, CC BY-NC-SA.
International Perspectives in Higher Education
ebook and OA edi ons
also available
... The University of Southern Queensland have been leaders in OEP in Australia, with moves towards an institutional IP policy, open textbook program and promoting an 'open first' agenda (Udas, Partridge, & Stagg, 2016). This also includes ensuring that software procurement is open source friendly. ...
... Educator capacity for OER creation and adaptation remains an area requiring improvement in Australian higher education (Stagg, 2014;Udas et al., 2016). As pointed out by Kandlbinder and Chelliah (2015, p. 3), "the encouragement to use OERs is only likely to succeed if there is an institution-wide approach that makes adoption and modification of OERs more attractive to subject coordinators". ...
... 2). Different authors had further acknowledged that educator capacity for OER creation and adaptation remained an area requiring improvement in Australian higher education (Stagg, 2014;Udas et al., 2016). ...
Full-text available
The Center for Open Education Research (COER) is an international research consortium, that was established in 2018 in order to increase international collaborative research projects, furthering innovation and understanding in open education, educational technology, lifelong learning, and international education. This book provides a cross-country analysis and comparison of the international developments of OER in various countries.
... The work that emerged from UKOER continues to be an important resource for OEP researchers, particularly those focusing on power relations, inequality, and/or culture change (e.g. Carey et al., 2015;Paskevicius, 2017;Udas, Partridge, & Stagg, 2016). ...
... While higher education policy makers cannot effect such change, they can support, facilitate, and incentivise actions that encourage change in academic practices and culture (Corrall & Pinfield, 2014). Evidence indicates that institutional open education policies can act as enablers for OER creation and use (Corrall & Pinfield, 2014;Cox & Trotter, 2016;Lesko, 2013;Udas, Partridge, & Stagg, 2016 • Provide ongoing support to all academic staff in (a) developing their digital literacies and digital identities, and (b) reflecting on their personal and professional values with respect to privacy, openness, learning, and teaching in an increasingly open, networked, and participatory culture. Many openly available tools and resources exist to support this work, including Visitor/Resident mapping (Flynn, 2016;White, Connaway, Lanclos, Hood, & Vass, 2014;White & Le Cornu, 2017), digital literacies resources (Alexander et al., 2017;C. ...
... In addition to providing an expansive conceptualisation of OEP, the UKOER research highlighted the potential of OEP to "flatten the traditional hierarchy and change the balance of power in learner/teacher relationships" (McGill et al., 2013, p. 10) and identified key issues for students, staff, institutions and the community, particularly highlighting the challenge of "cultural inertia/cultural change" with respect to openness (Beetham et al., 2012, p. 10). The work that emerged from UKOER continues to be an important resource for OEP researchers, particularly those focusing on power relations, inequality, and/or culture change (see Carey et al., 2015;Cronin, 2017;Czerniewicz et al., 2017aCzerniewicz et al., , 2017bPaskevicius, 2017;Udas, Partridge, & Stagg, 2016). ...
... Educator capacity for OER creation and adaptation remains an area requiring improvement in Australian higher education (Stagg, 2014;Udas et al., 2016). As pointed out by Kandlbinder and Chelliah (2015, p. 3), "the encouragement to use OERs is only likely to succeed if there is an institution-wide approach that makes adoption and modification of OERs more attractive to subject coordinators". ...
... 2). Different authors had further acknowledged that educator capacity for OER creation and adaptation remained an area requiring improvement in Australian higher education (Stagg, 2014;Udas et al., 2016). ...
... In addition, different ministries of education such those in India (Perryman & Seal, 2016), China (Tlili, Huang, Chang, Nascimbeni & Burgos, 2019) or Brazil (Ferreira & Lemgruber, 2019), have supported the adoption, creation and use of OERs in their educational systems through educational projects, initiatives or policies. Also, different educational institutions or universities such as the University of Southern Queensland (Australia) have included institutional policies for the development and use of OER in their educational community (Udas, Partridge & Stagg, 2016). ...
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The relevance of Open Educational Resources (OER) in the Latin American university context requires an instrument that measures the conceptual, procedural, and attitudinal aspects that teachers consider having in their open educational practices. The purpose of this research is to describe the process of design and validation of the Attitudinal Scale of Open Educational Practices (ASOEP) Scale. Consequently, the methodological approach corresponds to a descriptive, transectional, instrumental design that has three components: scale design, evaluation by expert judgment and validation with the pilot application. The pilot test was applied to a random sample with 123 teachers at a university in Colombia. The results from the validation of the content had the participation of five international experts who were classified according to coefficient K in the range between (k: .80 and k: 1.00). From the pilot application, the ASOEP Scale presented a general reliability of (α: .943).
... Wird der Lern-und Forschungsprozess stärker von den Studierenden selbstgesteuert oder von den Lehrenden angeleitet (Healey und Jenkins 2009;Levy und Der Ansatz der offenen Lehre konkretisiert sich in Konzepten zu OEP, sprich offene Lehr-/Lernkonzepte. Ziel der offenen Lehre ist es, Lernumgebungen und eine Lernkultur zu schaffen und zu fördern, die OEP ermöglichen und in denen diese Praktiken gelebt werden (Ehlers und Conole 2010;Stagg 2014;Stagg und Bossu 2016;Udas, Partridge, und Stagg 2016). Konfliktpotential gibt es hier unter anderem zwischen den Zielen und Bedürfnissen der Lehrenden, und den Zielen der einzelnen Institutionen (Kaatrakoski, Littlejohn, und Hood 2016). ...
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Dieser Artikel befasst sich mit zwei Lehr-/Lernansätzen, die aktuell stark diskutiert werden. Beiden ist gemeinsam, dass sie die Selbstständigkeit und die hohe Aktivität der Lernenden in den Mittelpunkt stellen (selbstreguliertes Lernen) und einen Fokus auf das kollaborative Arbeiten (soziales Lernen) legen. Forschendes Lernen zeichnet sich dadurch aus, dass es die wissenschaftliche Ausbildung an Hochschulen durch forschende Tätigkeiten der Studierenden umsetzen will. Offene Lehr-/Lernpraktiken (Open Educational Practices) werden in Zusammenhang mit der Öffnung von Lehre diskutiert, beinhalten in der Umsetzung jedoch auch Aspekte, die für eine offene Wissenschaft (Open Science) von Bedeutung sind. Sollen Studierende durch forschendes Lernen in Wissenschaft hineinwachsen, so spielt die Öffnung der Wissenschaft auch für sie eine Rolle. In unserem Beitrag diskutieren wir den Begriff der Offenheit aus diesen unterschiedlichen Perspektiven und gehen der Frage nach, inwieweit sich Aspekte offener Lehr-/Lernpraktiken in das Konzept des forschenden Lernens integrieren lassen. Wir schlagen eine Matrix vor, um die Offenheit im forschenden Lernen anhand der Merkmale offener Lehr-/Lernpraktiken sowie verschiedener Varianten forschenden Lernens zu vergleichen und diskutieren die Relevanz der Ansätze für die offene Wissenschaft. Die Zusammenführung von offenen Lehr-/Lernpraktiken und forschendem Lernen kann erste Einblicke geben, wie sich die an Hochschulen stattfindenden Öffnungsprozesse auf die wissenschaftliche Ausbildung auswirken.
... In addition to providing an expansive conceptualisation of OEP, the UKOER research highlighted the potential of OEP to "flatten the traditional hierarchy and change the balance of power in learner/ teacher relationships" (McGill et al., 2013, p. 10) and identified key issues for students, staff, institutions and the community, particularly highlighting the challenge of "cultural inertia/cultural change" with respect to openness (Beetham et al., 2012, p. 10). The work that emerged from UKOER continues to be an important resource for OEP researchers, particularly those focusing on power relations, inequality, and/or culture change (see Carey et al., 2015;Cronin, 2017;Czerniewicz et al., 2017aCzerniewicz et al., , 2017bPaskevicius, 2017;Udas, Partridge & Stagg, 2016). ...
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Conceptualisations of open educational practices (OEP) vary widely, ranging from those centred primarily on the creation and use of open educational resources (OER) to broader definitions of OEP, inclusive of but not necessarily focused on OER. The latter, referred to in this paper as expansive definitions of OEP, encompass open content but also allow for multiple entry points to, and avenues of, openness. This paper explores the theoretical and empirical literature to outline how the concept of OEP has evolved historically. The paper aims to provide a useful synthesis of OEP literature for education researchers and practitioners.
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Aspects of open science and scholarly practices are often discussed with a focus on research and research dissemination processes. There is currently less discussion on open science and its influence on learning and teaching in higher education, and reversely. This paper discusses open science in relation to educational practices and resources and reports on a study to investigate current educational practices from the perspective of open science. We argue that offering students opportunities via open educational practices raises their awareness of future open science goals and teaches them the skills needed to reach those goals. We present online survey results from 210 participants with teaching responsibility at higher education institutions in Germany. While some of them try to establish more open learning and teaching settings, the majority applies rather traditional ways of learning and teaching. 60 % do not use open educational resources – many have not even heard of them – nor do they make their courses open for an online audience. Participants’ priority lies in resource accuracy and quality and we still see a gap between the benefit of open practices and their practicability and applicability. The paper contributes to the general discussion of open practices in higher education by looking at open science practices and their adaptation into the learning and teaching environment. It formulates recommendations for improvements of open practice support and infrastructure.
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The Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education provided a timely reminder of the dismal performance of the nation and its higher education system in terms of the proportional representation of certain groups of Australians within the university student population. While the Australian Government has taken on the challenge of creating more university places for people from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, this article makes the case for creating spaces in higher education for marginalised Australians. Specifically, we argue that the most strategic place to begin this is with the pedagogic work of higher education, because of its positioning as a central message system in education. And it is from the centre that the greatest pedagogic authority is derived. In this paper we conceive of the pedagogic work involved in terms of belief, design and action. From these constitutive elements are derived three principles on which to build a socially inclusive pedagogy and to open up spaces for currently marginalised groups.
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Education is the key to economic, social and environmental progress, and governments around the world are looking to improve their education systems. The future of education in the 21st century is not simply about reaching more people, but about improving the quality and diversity of educational opportunities. How to best organise and support teaching and learning requires imagination, creativity and innovation. Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials that make use of tools such as open licensing to permit their free reuse, continuous improvement and repurposing by others for educational purposes. The OER community has grown considerably over the past 10 years and the impact of OER on educational systems has become a pervasive element of educational policy This report aims to highlight state of the art developments and practices in OER, but also to demonstrate how OER can be a tool for innovation in teaching and learning.
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The open educational resources initiative has been underway for over a decade now and higher education institutions are slowly adopting open educational resources (OER). The use and creation of OER are important aspects of adoption and both are needed for the benefits of OER to be fully realized. Based on the results of a survey developed to measure the readiness of faculty and staff to adopt OER, this paper focuses on the measurement of OER use and creation, and identifies factors to increase both. The survey was administered in September 2012 to faculty and staff of Athabasca University, Canada's open university. The results offer a snapshot of OER use and creation at one university. The survey tool could provide a mechanism to compare and contrast OER adoption with other higher education institutions. Forty-three percent of those in the sample are using OER and 31% are creating OER. This ratio of use to creation is introduced as a possible metric to measure adoption.
Full-text available
Addressing the gap between global open educational resource (OER) proliferation and the slow adoption of OER and open educational practices (OEP) in Australian higher education, this paper focuses on a capacity-building project targeting academics, academic support staff and educational developers. The conception, design, development, piloting and evaluation of an open, online professional development micro course are detailed, highlighting key aspects of the open design and considerations for sharing and reuse across higher education institutions. The open micro course introduces five key OEP concepts through five contemporary curriculum design topics, using knowledge co-creation activities which engage learners in iterative shaping of the course, and generate artefacts for demonstration and recognition of learning. Opportunities for short to longer term capacity-building which leverage the micro course are also discussed, in response to significant shifts underway in higher education funding and professional development priorities.
Full-text available
The area of learning has a justifiable claim to be a special case in how it can be enhanced or supported by technology. In areas such as commerce and web design the aim is usually to ensure efficiency and support specific actions such as purchasing or accessing information as quickly and easily as possible. Working with technology for the purpose of learning, the user is expected to spend time facing challenges, struggling through them and in almost every case the interaction with the technology is only one of many influences in achieving success. This does not mean that computing and the Internet has not had a major impact on how we learn and the choices available to learners. On the contrary, the area of formal learning is undergoing a period of rapid change, and the barriers between formal and informal learning are showing signs of falling away, in part due to the changes in the access to information or alternative modes of delivery. The influence of technology on pedagogy (the manner or structure of teaching) is complex. There is relatively little direct research on the ways that technological possibilities and the pedagogical response to these operate to benefit the lifelong learner. In this article we are bringing together the evidence from strands of research based on work in online and distance learning in formal settings, and also on open and free online education, which is often less formal. This research sheds light on several factors relevant to the outcomes of instruction: the often unpredictable motivations of learners, the trajectories they take through courses, and the indicators for success in formal and informal learning, in terms of both pedagogy and technology. We present the outcomes of practical endeavours to widen access to education using technology which indicate that open education is offering alternative ways of supporting learners. These suggest a focus on design decisions that can help integrate the process of learning more closely with ways in which online systems currently support learning and the data that can be used to interpret how well those designs are working.
Full-text available
This article discusses the role of open and distance learning to widen participation and promote social inclusion within Australian higher education, as well as the benefits that open educational resources (OER) could bring to that context. It also explores some of the most relevant social inclusion policies and related initiatives developed in Australia over the past two decades and their implications for OER. The article then reports the findings of an environmental scan of the use of OER across the higher education sector in Australia as part of a centrally funded research project. The research identifies a number of misconceptions within the higher education community about the nature of OER and reveals the lack of awareness regarding the potential of OER to close the gap between formal and informal education in Australia. Despite the strong evidence of the educational possibilities of OER, they are yet to play a significant role in promoting social inclusion Down Under.
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Open educational resources (OER) have become new buzzwords in the glocalization of education. While OER are often espoused as enabling educational equity, the reality is not always the case. Looking only at the positives of new educational methods can mask perpetuating challenges, which makes the open aspect of OER a misnomer. Taking an alternative stance, this article critically evaluates the broader notion of OER through the lens of equity. It contends that while equity reasons often underpin the provision of OER, challenges continue to be experienced by some in accessing open digital materials for learning. This article explores some of these issues and argues that equity considerations are fundamental in OER design.
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Purpose – The main aims of this viewpoint essay are to raise awareness and to provoke discussion regarding important issues surrounding open educational resources (OERs) as a new media for learning. Design/methodology/approach – The issues discussed are based on the authors' critical analysis of a select review of the body of knowledge available. Findings – The discussions here led to the conclusion that, despite the challenges brought by this recent movement, OER resources are here to stay. They have the potential, among other things, to further incorporate Web 2.0 applications in learning environments and to bridge the gap between non‐formal, informal and formal education. Originality/value – The reflections of the challenges and benefits of OERs presented here can assist government bodies, educational institutions, decision makers and educators in general whether they are considering adopting this movement or not.
Whilst Open Educational Resources (OER) offer opportunities for broadening participation in Higher Education, reducing course development and study costs, and building open collaborative partnerships to improve teaching and learning practices, they have yet to gain significant mainstream traction. Research surrounding open education has focused on adoption at the institutional level, identifying key enablers and barriers to practice, but the practicalities of engagement with open resources are not often addressed. By reviewing existing literature, and studying prior models used to explain OER (re)use, this paper proposes a continuum of use model. The proposed model seeks to acknowledge the complexity of applied knowledge required to fulsomely engage with open education by examining practitioner behaviours and the necessary supporting mechanisms. This conceptual model aims to be of use to both practitioners and also those responsible for designing professional development in an educational setting. Whilst the proposed model is designed for teaching staff use, some discussion is given as to how it could be applied to student learning using open resources as well.
This chapter provides an introduction to and rationale for the book. It begins by arguing that in today’s technologically rich context, where content and services are increasingly free, we need to rethink approaches to the design of learning activities and content. This chapter begins with an overview of the context of modern education, before looking at the characteristics of today’s learners and how they are using technologies. The concept of ‘learning design’ is introduced and, in particular, the notion that making design processes more explicit and shareable will enable teachers to develop more effective learning environments and interventions for learners. It will help learners to make more sense of their educational provision and associated learning pathways.