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Open education: Walking a critical path



[Open access version of this chapter: CC BY] This chapter explores justifications for and movements toward critical approaches to open education. While “open” is often framed as an unequivocal good, the deceptively simple term hides a “reef of complexity” (Hodgkinson-Williams & Gray, 2009, p. 114), much of which depends on the particular context within which openness is considered and practiced. Critical approaches to open education consider the nuances of context, focus on issues of participation and power, and encourage moving beyond the binaries of open and closed. As a starting point, I draw on Lane’s (2016) analysis that open education initiatives can be considered in two broad forms. The first seeks to transform or empower individuals and groups within existing structures, e.g. by removing specific prior qualifications requirements, eliminating distance and time constraints, eliminating or reducing costs, and/or improving access overall. A second form of open education seeks to transform the structures themselves, and the relationships between the main actors (e.g. learners, teachers, educational institutions), in order to achieve greater equity. Many critical educators have planted their flags in the latter territory, advocating the use of an explicit inequality lens to support social transformation and cognitive justice. This chapter presents an argument for critical and transformative approaches to open education. After a brief overview of open education, I explore several different critical analyses of open education and then widen the lens to consider critical analyses of the networks and platforms on which many open practices rely. The chapter concludes with examples of and recommendations for critical approaches to open education.
Open education: Walking a critical path
Catherine Cronin
National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Brill on 30 January 2020:
Open(ing) Education: Theory and Practice, Eds. Dianne Conrad and Paul Prinsloo.
Suggested citation:
Cronin. C. (2019). Open education: Walking a critical path. In D. Conrad, & P. Prinsloo (Eds.),
Open(ing) Education: Theory and Practice. Leiden: Brill.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 International License.
Open education: Walking a critical path
(Chapter 1)
“There is no technology for justice. There is only justice.”
“If the advice of the experts worked in the past, why then are you here now?
If you are here now because you were not satisfied with the results of the other way of
working, why didn't we pick this way? Why not walk another road?”
This chapter explores justifications for and movements toward critical approaches to
open education. While “open” is often framed as an unequivocal good, the deceptively
simple term hides a “reef of complexity” (Hodgkinson-Williams & Gray, 2009, p. 114),
much of which depends on the particular context within which openness is considered
and practiced. Critical approaches to open education consider the nuances of context,
focus on issues of participation and power, and encourage moving beyond the binaries of
open and closed. As a starting point, I draw on Lane’s (2016) analysis that open education
initiatives can be considered in two broad forms. The first seeks to transform or empower
individuals and groups within existing structures, e.g. by removing specific prior
qualifications requirements, eliminating distance and time constraints, eliminating or
reducing costs, and/or improving access overall. A second form of open education seeks
to transform the structures themselves, and the relationships between the main actors
(e.g. learners, teachers, educational institutions), in order to achieve greater equity. Many
critical educators have planted their flags in the latter territory, advocating the use of an
explicit inequality lens to support social transformation and cognitive justice. This
chapter presents an argument for critical and transformative approaches to open
education. After a brief overview of open education, I explore several different critical
analyses of open education and then widen the lens to consider critical analyses of the
networks and platforms on which many open practices rely. The chapter concludes with
examples of and recommendations for critical approaches to open education.
Open education
Education is a fundamental human right, globally recognised as a foundation for peace,
human dignity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability (UNESCO, 2016). Since
1948, universal access to education has been included in global policies and initiatives,
most recently as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): inclusive and
quality education for all” (United Nations, 2015). Multiple constraints and restrictions act
to limit access to and engagement with this fundamental human right for many
individuals and groups. These include physical circumstances, geographic remoteness,
financial constraints, technological barriers (e.g. digital divide), prior achievement
barriers, and/or cultural or social norms for particular individuals and groups (Brown &
Czerniewicz, 2010; Lane, 2009). Open education seeks to eliminate as many of these
barriers as possible, with the aim of improving educational access, effectiveness, and
equality. Explicitly-named “open education” movements emerged during the latter half
of the 20th century in different educational contexts and geographical locations. All can
be seen as part of a longer history of global social, political, and education movements
seeking to reduce inequality. Despite this connecting thread, a precise definition of open
education remains elusive. Over 35 years ago, Noddings and Enright (1983) wrestled
with the challenges of openness in their consideration of “the promise of open education.
Much of their analysis retains its relevance today:
Part of the problem of definition stems from the careless, if evocative, use of the term open
by educators and the popular press to describe the wide variety of educational innovations
which proliferated at the same time as open education classrooms were being developed.
(p. 183)
More recently, the term MOOC (massive open online course) has been used to refer to
explicitly connectivist projects (cMOOCs); online courses offered by universities and for-
profit providers, often without any openly-licensed content (xMOOCs); and myriad
hybrid models (Bayne & Ross, 2014). With the exception of the definition of open
educational resources or OER (UNESCO, 2002), open education definitions continue to be
diverse and often contested. Today, the qualifier open is used to describe access to
education, resources, learning and teaching practices, institutional practices, educational
policies, digital tools, the use of educational technologies, and the values underlying
educational endeavours. Despite this diversity, proponents of open education tend to
share a fundamental philosophy that knowledge is a common good and that its creation
and access should be as open as possible.
In practice, educators who espouse open education attempt to build opportunities for
learners to:
access education, open educational resources, open textbooks, and open
collaborate with others, across the boundaries of institutions, institutional
systems, and geographic locations,
create and co-create knowledge openly, and
integrate formal and informal learning practices, networks, and identities.
Such values comprise the rationale for the use of open educational practices (OEP) a
broad descriptor that includes the creation, use and reuse of OER, open pedagogies, and
open sharing of teaching practices (Cronin, 2017). Through the use of OEP, open
educators seek to acknowledge the ubiquity of knowledge across networks and attempt
to facilitate learning that fosters agency, empowerment, and global civic participation.
Critical analyses of open education
Critique plays an important role within education theory as a counterpoint to over-
simplistic thinking often evident in the form of “generalisations, unsubstantiated yet
dominant discourses, and questionable binaries” (Gourlay, 2015, p. 312). Open education
narratives have been criticised in each of these respects, as well as for an overall tendency
towards idealism and optimism. Recent years have seen a rising call for greater critical
analysis of, and critical approaches to, open education. It is worth clarifying the precise
definition of the term critical as it is used here and throughout this chapter. Firstly,
“critical” refers to a process of critique on the part of educators, as described by Michael
Apple (1990):
Our task as educators... requires criticism of what exists, restoring what is being lost,
pointing towards possible futures; and sometimes it requires being criticized ourselves,
this being something we should yearn for since it signifies the mutuality and shifting roles
of teachers and taught that we must enhance. (p. xii)
Beyond this disposition, however, critical analysis and critical approaches are so called
because they are informed by critical theory, the core concern of which is power relations
in society (Freire, 1996; Giroux, 2003). This use of the term “critical” is less an
epistemological focus (as in critical thinking) than a focus on the concrete operations of
power and a rejection of all forms of oppression, injustice, and inequality (as in critical
pedagogy) (Burbules & Berk, 1999; hooks, 1994). Critical analyses of open education,
then, begin by asking questions such as:
Who defines openness?
Who is included and who is excluded when education is ‘opened’, and in what
To what extent, by whom, in what contexts, and in what ways do specific open
education initiatives achieve their stated aims of increasing access, fostering
inclusivity, enhancing learning, developing capacity and agency, and
empowering individuals, groups, and communities, if at all?
Can open education initiatives, in practice, do the opposite of what they are
intended to do?
What does emancipatory open education look like?
Following is a short summary of three key strands of critical analysis of open education.
A foundational point in many critical analyses of open education is citing the false dualism
of open vs. closed,” and, indeed, moving beyond a simple or deontological
understanding of openness (Archer & Prinsloo, 2017) and the comfort of binaries. If open
is not the opposite of closed, how then to define open education in a meaningful way?
Wiley (2009, para. 6) has espoused the continuous construct: “A door can be wide open,
completely shut, or open part way. So can a window. So can a faucet. So can your eyes.
Our common-sense, everyday experience teaches us that ‘open’ is continuous.” Others
reject the binary as well as continuous constructs of openness, viewing openness, for
example, as boundary-crossing (Collier & Ross, 2017; Oliver, 2015) or an interplay
(Edwards, 2015). Acknowledging that selectiveness and exclusions are inherent in all
curricula and pedagogical approaches, Richard Edwards (2015) articulates a key
question: “not simply whether education is more or less open, but what forms of
openness are worthwhile and for whom; openness alone is not an educational virtue” (p.
253). Recognition of this interplay of openness and closed-ness in all educational
practices provides strong justification for a more critical approach, taking individual,
social, and cultural contexts into account.
Another strand of critical analysis of open education focuses on the tendency toward
idealism. Some open education narratives are criticised as utopian fantasies of
democratisation, where the workings of systemic power and privilege around race,
gender, culture, class, location, and sexuality are absent or suspended (Gourlay, 2015). In
her analysis of MOOC narratives, for example, Tressie McMillan Cottom (2015a) notes
that many MOOCs appear to conceive of open learners as “roaming autodidacts self-
motivated, able learners that are simultaneously embedded in technocratic futures and
disembedded from place, culture, history and markets” (p. 9), and almost always
conceived as Western, white, educated, and male. Such optimistic assumptions about
open education, be they naïve or intentional, serve to divert attention from structural
inequalities and shift responsibility away from educational institutions. Idealistic
“openness” narratives also tend to conceal the complexities of academic labour inherent
in open education. The creation of open educational resources, for example, relies heavily
on institutional resources and the appropriation of academic labour, yet many OER
narratives fail to address the inherent tension between open, networked possibilities of
abundance and the corporatised, educational institutional structures on which they rely
(Winn, 2015).
A third strand of critical analysis of open education advocates a greater theorisation of
openness, particularly by moving beyond the dominant but limited interpretation of open
as access.” An over-emphasis on removal of barriers obscures and often prevents a
deeper analysis of associated relations of power (Bayne et al. 2015; Dhalla, 2018; Nobes,
2017; Oliver, 2015, Piron, 2017; singh, 2015; Watters, 2014). Knox (2013) has argued, for
example, that the open as access approach masks underlying assumptions of
instrumentalism and essentialism, potentially masking the ways in which networks,
systems, and codes of open education might affect or transform the learning process.
Beyond deconstructing “open as access” narratives, conceptions of open access also have
been subject to critical analysis. Global South scholars, most notably, have highlighted
how alienation and epistemic inequality arise from narrow, Global North-centric
conceptions of open access (Czerniewicz, 2013), for example:
a conception of open access that is limited to the legal and technical questions of the
accessibility of science without thinking about the relationship between centre and
periphery can become a source of epistemic alienation and neocolonialism in the South.
(Piron, 2017, translated in Nobes, 2017)
If open education serves only to reinforce the normative universalism of Global North
institutions, publications, research priorities, funding, and metrics, then efforts to “open”
education may simply be exacerbating rather than challenging inequality. This is a
challenge that must be faced and addressed by all engaged in open education.
Critical analyses of networks and platforms
Beyond theorising open education itself, the underlying structures and mechanics of open
practice also have been the subject of critical analysis: namely, networks and platforms.
The concept of the network as model and metaphor has been used widely in describing
changes in society, learning, and education. Specific network constructs
include networked publics (boyd, 2010), the network society (Castells, 2010), networked
individualism (Rainie & Wellman, 2012; Wellman, 2002), and networked
learning (Dirckinck-Holmfeld et al., 2012). In recent years, critical theorists have added
nuance to, and sometimes challenged, these conceptual and analytical frameworks by
exploring how power and privilege operate in networks and the implications for
individuals, institutions, and society. Broadly speaking, critiques of networked
explanations of social behaviour assert that human social life cannot adequately be
explained by the concepts of social ties and social capital, and furthermore, that networks
can as easily exacerbate as reduce inequality. All hierarchies are not flattened.
One compelling avenue of critical analysis has highlighted the limitations of the network
episteme itself (Light, 2014; Light & Cassidy, 2014; Mejias, 2011, 2013). Networks are not
just metaphors, but actively organise and shape our social reality. Ulises Mejias’s critical
theorisation of networks includes the concept of the paranode,” defined as that which
fills the interstices between the nodes of a network and resists being assumed by the
network: “it is only the outsides of the network where we can unthink or disidentify from
the network, from the mainstream” (Mejias, 2011, p. 49). While network logic or
nodocentrism defines paranodal space as “empty,” Mejias (2013) counters that the
paranodal serves to “animate the network” (p. 153) and also to uncover the politics of
inclusion and exclusion encoded in the network. In a similar vein, Ben Light’s (2014)
theory of disconnective practice, asserts that disconnection is an active part of
engagement in social networking sites (SNS). In Light’s analysis, disconnection is complex
and contextual, enacted not only in terminating an account or opting out of engaging in a
SNS, for example, but also prior to and during engagement in social networks. A prevalent
reason for disengagement from networks (or, conversely, engagement in disconnective
practice) is resistance to surveillance and preservation of privacy. Privacy is of enormous
individual, institutional, and societal importance in an increasingly open and
participatory culture in which data is persistent, replicable, searchable, and scalable
(boyd, 2010) and our interactions tend to be public by default and private through effort
(boyd, 2014).
As networked, participatory culture has evolved, so too has our conception of privacy.
While definitions of privacy traditionally relied on spatial distinctions (public/private)
and on limiting access to and control of information, more recent and complex
understandings of privacy have shifted the focus to context. Helen Nissenbaum’s (2010)
influential work considers privacy within a framework of contextual integrity. According
to Nissenbaum, social activity, occurring in specific contexts, is governed by context-
specific norms; among these are informational norms regarding the appropriate flow of
information between parties. Contextual integrity is preserved when informational
norms are upheld and violated when they are contravened. Nissenbaum’s framework of
contextual integrity has been adopted and further developed by many researchers,
practitioners, and policy makers. Patricia Lange (2007), for example, used the framework
to explore variation within a particular context, i.e. video sharing on YouTube, proposing
the concepts of publicly private (revealing one’s identity but limiting access to content)
and privately public (sharing content but limiting access to one’s identity) to describe
individuals’ nuanced behaviours in relation to privacy. And in her empirical study of
teens’ use of social media, danah boyd (2012) coined the term social steganographyto
describe another variation of privacy behaviour: sharing identity and content but limiting
access to meaning: “only those who are in the know have the necessary information to
look for and interpret the information provided” (p. 349). These examples illustrate an
important point: engaging in paranodal or disconnective practice does not demand
wholesale rejection of networks, including social media and SNS (an unrealistic option
for most). Rather, it entails critical questioning of the terms of engagement within
networks and enactment of creative and alternative modes of being within and beyond
Beyond these complex and contextual reconceptualisations of the concept of privacy, is
the extent to which suppression of privacy lies at the heart of the business models of most
digital and social media platforms. The concepts of platform capitalism (Srnicek, 2016)
and surveillance capitalism (Zuboff, 2019) lay bare these new business models as
directly reliant on the appropriation of data and the convergence of surveillance and
profit. Corporate and platform surveillance practices track and monetize our locations,
our connections, and our every click (Zuboff, 2019). The challenge for educators, and
particularly for open educators, is clear. Many of the tools and platforms we use to engage
in social connection and open educational practices, tools intimately woven into our
personal and academic lives, embody values stemming from libertarian, neoliberal beliefs
designed to allow and encourage some behaviours and prevent others (Gilliard & Culik,
2016; Marwick, 2013).
In summary, critical analyses of open education, networks, and platforms present a set of
critical lenses epistemological, theoretical, social, political with which to examine
existing forms of, and conceptualise new approaches to, open education.
Critical approaches to open education
Critical approaches to open education vary considerably by scope, location, and specific
intention, but all address issues of power and offer ways to reconceptualise and reframe
(open) education in ways that are both participatory and emancipatory. This section
briefly describes a few examples.
Open pedagogy is a key pillar of critical approaches to open education. DeRosa and
Robison (2017) and Rosen and Smale (2015) frame their definitions of open pedagogy
and open digital pedagogy, respectively, as versions of critical digital pedagogy. Critical
digital pedagogy focuses on the potential of open practices to create dialogue, to
deconstruct the teacher-student binary, to bring disparate learning spaces together, and
to function as a form of resistance to inequitable power relations within and outside of
educational institutions (Stommel, 2014). Examples of open pedagogy include working
together with students to: use, adapt, and create OER; edit Wikipedia; engage in
conversations beyond institutional boundaries; contribute to local, global, and
disciplinary communities and projects; and ask critical questions about openness. A
recent definition of open pedagogy by DeRosa and Jhangiani (2018) eloquently
summarises the tenets of critical approaches to open education:
“Open Pedagogy,” as we engage with it, is a site of praxis, a place where theories about
learning, teaching, technology, and social justice enter into a conversation with each other
and inform the development of educational practices and structures. This site is dynamic,
contested, constantly under revision, and resists static definitional claims. But it is not a
site vacant of meaning or political conviction.
Beyond open pedagogy, we also consider critical approaches to developing open courses.
MOOC development at the University of Cape Town (UCT), for example, is grounded in a
social inclusion perspective (Gidley, Hampson, Wheeler, & Bereded-Samuel, 2010).
Critiquing the elite, neo-colonialist, closed, and broadcast mode of many institutional
MOOCs, UCT developers have conceptualised MOOCs as an intentional process rather than
a product acknowledging the importance not only of access, but also of participation
and empowerment (Czerniewicz & Walji, 2017). UCT MOOCs such as “Education for All”
and “Introduction to Social Innovation” are embedded in a theoretical approach to
openness that focuses on inclusive content development, enables engagement with
learning in multiple ways (not solely online), and liaises with and empowers local
communities (Arinto, Hodgkinson-Williams, & Trotter, 2017; Czerniewicz & Walji, 2017).
Openness is contextual, but it is also personal and continually negotiated (Cronin, 2017);
thus, it is important to consider critical approaches to open education on an individual
level also. The creation and enactment of open, networked identities on various platforms
is considered a necessity by many as education institutions and wider society “become
enmeshed with digital practice and culture” (Hildebrandt & Couros, 2016, para. 5). Such
enmeshing is not uncomplicated, however. Educators who use OEP, for example, typically
create and enact open, networked, “Resident” digital identities (based on White & Le
Cornu’s (2017) Visitor/Resident typology), leaving myriad traces of their social and
scholarly engagement on the web (Stewart, 2016). Critical approaches to openness can
prompt us to acknowledge, and even facilitate, less obvious avenues of openness,
however. In the context of increasing surveillance, the use of anonymity may be seen as
fostering freedom from the commodification of the social. Indeed, anonymity,
conceptualised as “constellations of partial unknowability, invisibility and untrackability”
(Bachmann, Knecht, & Wittel, 2017, p. 243), can be considered socially productive and
adding value to networked experience (Light & Cassidy, 2014). And what of the many
educators who use open tools to curate resources for themselves and their students and
develop their own and their students’ digital literacies, but without making themselves
openly visible online? Such individuals would be classified as Visitors in the
Visitor/Resident continuum, i.e. engaging on the web without leaving a social trace
(White & Le Cornu, 2017). By not creating open, networked identities themselves, these
individuals might not be considered open educators.” And yet, educators making such
strategic choices educate and empower students about issues such as digital identity,
surveillance, and privacy. These strategies align with critiques of networks by Light
(2014) and Mejias (2011, 2013), i.e. paranodal, disconnective practice as both resistance
and pedagogy.
While we cannot readily untether participatory culture, software platforms, and
corporate interests, development of digital literacies (broadly conceived) can promote
critical awareness of issues such as algorithmic bias, surveillance, and privacy for all
engaged in education. The conceptualisation of digital literacies continues to expand
rapidly with recent work in the areas of web literacy (Caulfield, 2017), critical digital
literacies (Alexander et al., 2017; Brown et al., 2016), critical data literacies (Hinrichsen
& Coombs, 2013; Pangrazio, 2016), digital citizenship (Almekinder et al., 2017; Couros &
Hildebrandt, 2017), critical digital citizenship (Emejulu & McGregor, 2016), and literacies
of participatory culture (Jenkins et al., 2015). All include critical reflection on the ways in
which networks and platforms foster connection as well as surveillance, inequality, and
even “epistemic enslavement” (Mejias, 2011). Fostering the development of digital/web
literacies may range from teaching and modelling digital identities and literacies to
teaching about digital literacies without interacting with students on the open web.
Whatever the method, this is complex work, as acknowledged by Maha Bali (in Alexander
et al., 2017):
The role of higher education, and educators, is to work on nurturing digital literacies across
the curriculum, taking into account the inequalities of access to opportunities to develop
digital literacies before and outside of higher education, and keeping in mind the
intersectionality of incoming students and how their priorities within digital literacies will
differ. (p. 21)
A key to critical approaches to open education is to develop critical digital/web literacies
and to foster agency on the part of all learners and educators regarding whether, how,
and in what contexts they choose to be open. In other words, using Edwards’ (2015)
framing, all should have the capacity and agency with which to manage their own
personal interplay of openness and closedness.
As noted at the start of this chapter, Lane (2016) outlined two broad approaches to open
education: empowering individuals and groups within existing structures and
transforming the structures themselves in order to achieve equity. Critical approaches to
open education focus on the latter, seeking to reframe open education to be participatory
and emancipatory, as well as being more accessible. Those advocating critical approaches
to open education seek to expand access, including the concept of access, but also to
further justice.
What I do need are specifics about how this moment is not like those other moments, those
old moments of educational expansion that were shaped by powerful white interests,
wealth, and racism to expand access without furthering justice. (McMillan Cottom, 2015b)
Critical approaches to open education require that we ask difficult questions about power
and participation. In addition to specific questions related to openness (see p. 5), we also
must ask: Who is in our classrooms and institutions, and why? Who is not in our
classrooms and institutions, and why not? Who is excluded and who may be silenced by
systems, policies, and practices which skew attention and rewards toward white, male,
privileged, Global North experiences and priorities? In the words of Audrey Watters
(2014): “We need an ethics of care, of justice, not simply assume that “open” does the
work of those for us.”
The work of critical open educators, researchers, and advocates is individual, collective,
and multi-layered: decentering Global North epistemologies; furthering personal and
institutional understanding of intersectional inequality; challenging traditional power
relations, within and beyond classrooms and institutions; connecting with/via formal
and informal learning spaces (digital and physical); recognising that resistance to
openness is a personal, and possibly radical, choice; and ongoing self-reflection. Critical
approaches to open education represent intentional efforts to transform structures, in all
contexts, to achieve greater equity.
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... Open education (OE) aims at increasing educational access, effectiveness and equity through fostering participation and knowledge co-creation, especially by marginalised and traditionally under-represented groups (Campbell, 2020a;Cronin, 2020). This brief directly responds to (or aims at supporting) the implementation of the 2019 UNESCO Open Educational Resources (OER) Recommendation 1 that calls on governments and educational institutions to create enabling OER and OE policies. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Open education (OE) aims at increasing educational access, effectiveness and equity. The 2019 UNESCO Open Educational Resources (OER) Recommendation calls on governments and educational institutions to create enabling policies. Such policies should aim to foster open educational practices in a wide sense, including creation and use of OER. Key elements of OE policies are identified: capacity building; learning accreditation/credit transfer; access and inclusivity; diverse access to knowledge; platform governance; and fostering a culture of openness. OE policies, whether standalone or incorporated into a wider openness policy, should be designed to cohere with other policies addressing open content and practices. This brief seeks to promote the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders in institutional policymaking process via a co-creation approach. Co-creation of policy enables stakeholders’ voices to be heard, supports shared understanding and ownership of policy goals, while also ensuring policy is relevant and fit for local purposes, contexts and communities. Policy brief presented at UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2022.
... According to Cronin (2020) and Campbell (2020a), OE aims at increasing educational access and effectiveness, as well as equity, through fostering participation and knowledge co-creation, including by marginalised and traditionally under-represented groups. Similarly, for Gouillart & Hallett (2015), the idea of co-creating policy is related to the principles of participation and democracy, and holds real promise as a way to facilitate innovation in policymaking. ...
Technical Report
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These guidelines aim to support institutions and governments in the development of open education policies promoting the adoption of open educational practices and resources, and the fostering of collaborations amongst social-educational actors which favour the democratisation of knowledge access and production. The purpose of this guide is to support policymakers, understood in a broad sense here to include a range of stakeholders, to design appropriate policies for their contexts and communities. Rather than the detail of policy, the focus of this guide is on the process of policymaking, through which the detail should emerge. Although policy might be often thought of as the work of managers, governments or experts that is then adopted, disseminated to the masses and implemented, we consider that, as ‘openness policies’ need to create public value, a transversal and democratic approach to policymaking is necessary. Furthermore, co-creation can be a factor in policy effectiveness, as the sense of co-ownership in a community can enhance the shared responsibility to achieve policy goals (Voorberg, Bekkers & Tummers, 2015; Bryson, Sancino, Benington & Sørensen, 2017). Therefore, we aim with these guidelines to support policymakers and advocates from governments and academia at the national, regional and institutional levels, in adopting a co-creation approach across the policy cycle, toward development of OE policies, strategies, action plans and roadmaps. We also consider these guidelines should be relevant for other institutions or organisations seeking to foster OE, such as civil society, GLAM sector and non-profit organisations, and as well for the Open Science sector, as UNESCO (2020b) recommends promoting the use of Open Educational Resources to increase access to Open Science educational and research resources. This guide has been co-created in collaboration with the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) and is, in part, based on the Recommendations from OpenMed to University leaders and policy makers for opening up Higher Education in the South-Mediterranean by 2030, and follows the OGP Participation & Co-Creation Standards. These recommendations have been co-authored, reviewed and edited by a group of policy and open education experts.
... Perhaps, we learned to see the people at 'the edge, the periphery, the margins of our human scatter-plot [...] the outliers and weak signals' (Treviranus 2019). Perhaps, we paved the way for new postdigital pedagogical ecologies (Bayne 2018) of justice and care (Bali and Sharma 2014;Cronin 2020) where we could peacefully 'inter-be' (Hanh 2010). Perhaps, it opened the door to a brighter day (Scott-Heron 1970) where people could once again step outside, touch each other, and be okay. ...
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This paper aims to interpret, analyse, and critique educational pasts, presents, and futures. It is framed by potentially falsifiable memories of colonization and struggles for identity and social justice. We adopt the device of social science fiction (Gerlach and Hamilton 2003) as a specialist genre of speculative fiction (Graham et al. 2019). Such speculative approaches seek to develop provocations rather than predictions (Selwyn et al. 2020) and to implicate their readers rather than to inculcate them. In this tradition, we seek to ponder possibilities of post-pandemic educational futurities. Our work centres on the ramblings of an unknown scholar who, on the cusp of a post-scientific world, screams a maddened poem into the void titled ‘The Pandemic will not be on Zoom’. The events surrounding this poem are pieced together to reveal a world of stark inequities and digital and biological fractures. These fractures prefigured a bleak colonization of humankind by a deepmind hive Artificial Intelligence (AI) (Fig. 1) that caused us to become forever isolated from ourselves and that brought an end to the grand projects of science and education. In our conclusion, we call for other historians of futures past to help uncover timelines, and write alternative fictions, that promote pedagogies of hope, care, justice, and a brighter day.
... This may not be the case for some academics who operate in resource-scarce environments (Peter & Deimann, 2013); do not have the language (English is a dominant language as reflected in the papers reviewed in this study) to participate (Bozkurt, Yazici & Aydin, 2018) or who may not know how to engage in open spaces (Bali & Caines, 2018). These issues are related to the balance and skewness of power that challenges the practice of openness in open spaces (Cronin, 2020). ...
Full-text available
Open educational practices (OEP) is a broad descriptor of practices that include the creation, use and reuse of open educational resources (OER) as well as open pedagogies and open sharing of teaching practices. As compared with OER, there has been little empirical research on individual educators' use of OEP for teaching in higher education. This research study addresses that gap, exploring the digital and pedagogical strategies of a diverse group of university educators, focusing on whether, why and how they use OEP for teaching. The study was conducted at one Irish university; semi-structured interviews were carried out with educators across multiple disciplines. Only a minority of educators used OEP. Using constructivist grounded theory, a model of the concept 'Using OEP for teaching' was constructed showing four dimensions shared by open educators: balancing privacy and openness, developing digital literacies, valuing social learning, and challenging traditional teaching role expectations. The use of OEP by educators is complex, personal and contextual; it is also continuously negotiated. These findings suggest that research-informed policies and collaborative and critical approaches to openness are required to support staff, students and learning in an increasingly complex higher education environment.
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This paper outlines ways in which scholars build identity and connection on open networked platforms such as Twitter, and considers the risks and benefits of networked participatory engagement. The paper reports the findings of an ethnographic study examining the digitally-networked practices of scholars from a range of disciplines, identity positions, and geopolitical locations, and explores participants’ experiences of care and vulnerability within open, networked academic systems. The paper draws on White and LeCornu’s (2011) visitors and residents continuum, Veletsianos and Kimmons’ (2012) concept of Networked Participatory Scholarship (NPS), and Ong’s (1982) theories of secondary orality and secondary literacy to explore networked scholars’ practices and experiences. It examines ‘academic Twitter’ as a phenomenon in which oral and literate traditions – and audience expectations – are collapsed, creating a public that operates on very different terms from those of academia. The paper’s findings examine the risks of this collapse, yet also show that networked engagement – in which personal identity signals, humor, and expressions of commonality are found to be the dominant means by which scholars build networks ties – can result in opportunities and affinities that institutional scholarship may not offer. The substantive goal of the paper is to offer a portrait of networked scholars’ experiences and practices related to engagement, and to consider the tensions these practices raise within the contemporary academy.
Based on a selection of the most relevant and high quality research papers from the 2010 Networked Learning Conference, this book is an indispensible resource for all researchers, instructional designers, program managers, and learning technologists interested in the area of Technology Education Research. This volume provides information on current trends and advances in research on networked learning, technology enhanced learning, and e-learning. Specifically, it provides cutting edge information in the areas of: • Designing and Facilitating Learning in a Networked World • Methodologies for Research in Networked Learning • Learning in Social Networks • Embedding Networked Learning in Public and Private Organizations • Problem based Networked Learning • Social Justice and Social Responsibility in Networked Learning • Networked Learning and Knowledge Management in the Workplace • Globalization and Multiculturalism in Networked Learning • Networked Learning and International Development • Participation and Alienation in Networked Learning • Practice Based Research for Professional Development in Networked Learning
‘Visitors and Residents’ is a continuum of modes of engagement which has been well established as a valuable way of understanding how individuals engage online. This paper discusses how the original metaphor of Visitors and Residents has been developed into a mapping process which helps individuals to visualise, and reflect on, the digital tools and places they use or spend time in. The paper explores ways that the Visitors and Residents work has developed and proposes a method of analysing a body of maps through ‘engagement genres’ to discover broader trends in behaviour across groups.
Ben Light puts forward an alternative way of thinking about how we engage with social networking sites. He analyses our engagements social networking sites in public, at work, in our personal lives and as related to our health and wellbeing, emphasizing the importance of disconnection instead of connection.
This article traces a line through contemporary critical perspectives on open online education, which challenge an emphasis on content and access that gives too much weight to instrumental goals of education. This article offers the concept of ‘not-yetness’ as a productive lens for examining alternative meanings of openness. Not-yetness emerged as a response to a dominant discourse of technology in education—including technologies of openness—that has been characterised by rhetoric of control, efficiency, and enhancement. Not-yetness invites a rethinking of online learning and digital education in terms of risk, uncertainty, and messiness and brings our attention to the variability of open education contexts and learners. Using examples of a ‘federated wiki’ and ‘agents beyond the course’, the article shows how higher education pedagogies can and should engage with boundary-crossings between openness and closure, and demonstrates the value of the perspectives that such engagements bring to the fore.
This essay considers how intersectionality, as a critical epistemology and practice, deepens analysis of emerging group-based differences using the Internet. The author argues that intersectionality can shift analytical focus to process and institutions. Examples from the author’s research of market-based, for-profit credentialism provide examples of how marginalized groups use strategic hypervisibility to navigate institutional inequalities and how algorithmic stratification diffuses structural inequalities through Internet based interactions with critical institutions.
In this article, we attempt to define and explore a concept of ‘radical digital citizenship’ and its implications for digital education. We argue that the ‘digital’ and its attendant technologies are constituted by on-going materialist struggles for equality and justice in the Global South and North which are erased in the dominant literature and debates in digital education. We assert the need for politically informed understandings of the digital, technology and citizenship and for a ‘radical digital citizenship’ in which critical social relations with technology are made visible and emancipatory technological practices for social justice are developed.
The research environment in the global South faces many pressing challenges given resource inequality. Technical and financial issues aside, Laura Czerniewicz asserts it is the values and practices shaped by the Northern research agenda which contribute just as much to the imbalance. In order to confront these inequities, perceptions of science and research outputs must be broadened, and the open access movement needs to also broaden its focus from access to knowledge to full participation in knowledge creation and in scholarly communication.