Category Archives: Open

13Apr/18

PhD thesis: Openness and praxis

obligatory thesis photo

Yesterday I formally submitted my thesis to NUI Galway. It is done! There are so many gateways and milestones in the doctoral process: each year’s progression (via Graduate Research Committee review), thesis submission for examination, the viva, completion of final corrections, printing and binding the final version, formal submission, and uploading the open access version. It is important to celebrate each step (and I have ūüôā ) but it’s wonderful to be here, at last. Here are a few details and links, as promised:

TITLE: Openness and praxis: A situated study of academic staff meaning-making and decision-making with respect to openness and use of open educational practices in higher education

LINK: https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/handle/10379/7276

ABSTRACT:¬†Open education seeks to improve educational access, effectiveness, and equality. The term ‚Äėopen educational practices‚Äô (OEP) describes practices that include the creation, use and reuse of open educational resources (OER) as well as open pedagogies and open sharing of teaching practices. While open education at a macro level is regarded by many as a positive goal, complexity resides in determining and negotiating the value of open practice at an individual level, and structural and cultural barriers to openness persist within higher education. The goal of this research study was to understand whether, why, how, and to what extent individual educators used OEP, specifically with respect to teaching, and also to identify any shared characteristics among those who used OEP (i.e. ‚Äėopen educators‚Äô). The study was conducted at a medium-sized, research-focused university in Ireland, without explicit policies on OER or OEP. The empirical study used a qualitative, interpretive, and critical approach in order to focus on participants‚Äô meaning-making and decision-making with respect to openness. Data was gathered from academic staff across a broad range of disciplines and all employment categories (i.e. permanent, non-permanent, full-time and part-time). Using constructivist grounded theory, a model of the concept ‚ÄėUsing OEP for teaching‚Äô was constructed to describe open educators‚Äô digital identities and digital practices, and the values and motives associated with decisions about whether to use OEP. The results of the study indicated little intentional use of OER and relatively low use of OEP. The four dimensions shared by open educators were: (i) balancing privacy and openness, (ii) developing digital literacies, (iii) valuing social learning, and (iv) challenging traditional teaching role expectations. The use of OEP by academic staff was found to be complex, personal, contextual, and continually negotiated. The study adds to a growing body of work on open educational practices and also provides evidence for policy makers and practitioners arguing for critical and context-specific approaches to open education.

Link to previous post containing my thanks and acknowledgements.

Although a week’s rest would be welcome (ha!) an immensely exciting two weeks is about to begin — including the #OER18 and #OEGlobal conferences and annual #GO_GN seminar. I feel very fortunate not only to be sharing my own research but collaborating with some amazing colleagues for workshops as well. Here’s a list of¬† activities over the next two weeks:

16/17 April – Visit to Disruptive Media Learning Lab (Coventry)

  • Various sessions with Maha Bali, Alan Levine, Mia Zamora, and many more, re: connected learning, intercultural learning, and openness, e.g.¬†Brown Bag Lunch.

18/19 April – #OER18 Conference (Bristol)

21/22 April – #GO_GN Seminar (Delft)

  • This 2+ day workshop for PhD researchers will be facilitated by the amazing¬†OER Hub team. As GO-GN-ers and recent PhD graduates, Chrissi Nerantzi and I will facilitate one of the workshops, Let it PhD.

24/25/26 April –¬†#OEGlobal Conference (Delft)

See you in Coventry, Bristol, Delft, or on Twitter… ūüôā

10Apr/18

Considering openness [updated]

Today and tomorrow I’ll be working with a group of academic staff here at NUI Galway as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education here in CELT. Of course it’s very dangerous to ask someone who’s *just* completed their PhD in open education to talk about… open education ūüėȬ†¬†So, I’ve decided simply to start with a few questions, curate a small collection of resources to share, and see what resonates with the individuals I’ll be working with. This post is just to share resources on my list so far — if you have any suggestions for additional resources that you have found helpful in working with staff, I’d love to know what works for you. I’ll post again after the two sessions are finished, to share what I’ve learned.

[UPDATE 12-April-2018] What a wonderful two sessions with academic staff discussing open educational practices, in the broadest sense. Below are the resources that were referred to or discussed in detail.

Reading

Biswas-Diener, R., & Jhangiani, R. (2017). Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science. London: Ubiquity Press. 

Cronin, C. (2017). Open education, open questions. EDUCAUSE Review, 23 October. 

Havemann, L. (2016). Open Educational Resources. In M. A. Peters (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Jianghani, R., & DeRosa, R. (2017). Open pedagogy. In E. Mays (Ed.), A Guide to Making Open Textbooks for Students. 

McKiernan, E.C. (2017). Imagining the ‚Äúopen‚ÄĚ university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education. PLoS Biology, 15(10). ¬†¬†

Phipps, L., & Lanclos, D. Leading with digital in an age of supercomplexity. Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 3(1). 

Tufekci, Z. (2018, April 4). Why Zuckerberg’s 14-year apology tour hasn’t fixed Facebook. Wired.  (also the author of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest)

Resources

Building Blocks for Domain of One’s Own (University of Mary Washington) Рshort modules that can be used by lecturers to explore key topics with students, e.g. digital identity, copyright & open licensing, etc.  

My Open Textbook: Pedagogy and Practice – building an open anthology of literature with students

A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students 

Considering Openness: a vignette (video by Catherine Cronin)

NUI Galway

All Aboard – building digital knowledge, skills, confidence

Digital Champions – staff/student partnership, developing digital knowledge and skills

Exploring Domain of One’s Own Р2017 workshop at NUI Galway with Jim Groom 

Institutional policies on openness

NUI Galway –¬†Open Access policy¬†

University of Cape Town –¬†Intellectual property policy¬†and¬†Open access policy

University of Edinburgh –¬†Open educational resources policy

* UPCOMING EVENTS * 

Annual CELT Symposium – June 15, 2018

Design for Learning: Teaching and Learning Spaces in Higher Education

Speakers: Donna Lanclos, Alastair Blyth, Lorna Campbell

CELT seminar and workshops – May 1, 2018

Open Learning, Infectious Creativity, & the Future of Connected Collaboration

Speakers: Alan Levine & Mia Zamora

Link to slides:

01Mar/18

Yes Equality Ireland 2015 – Storify

original cover image of Storify collection of tweets

Over the past six years, I’ve created several Storify stories (some published, some drafts), usually summarising events, group activities, or conversations that I didn’t want to lose in endlessly streaming social media feeds. (Before that I used Storyful to create stories, but they stopped their story curation app in or around 2012.) I was never a ‘power’ Storify user, but I valued it as a curation tool. Storify will be no more after May 2018, so I’ve started grabbing some of the stories I’d like to keep — using @cogdog‘s excellent Storify Embeddable Link Extractor to grab the html code and embed the tweets here on my blog.

A few days after the historic vote for marriage equality in Ireland on May 22nd, 2015, I created a YesEquality Storify with some of the many tweets I’d favorited (‚≠ź) on Twitter. I’d like to hold onto this little slice of history. Alan’s code made it incredibly easy to do that. Over the next couple of months I’ll do the same for a few other stories.


Continue reading

23Oct/17

Many faces of open research

CC0 by Oliver Cole at Unsplash

I’m in the final few weeks of my PhD — the thesis-writing part of the process, anyway. My research topic is open educational practices (OEP), specifically how educators and students make sense of and make use of OEP in higher education. So, yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. But¬†I’ve been reflecting also on my practice as an open researcher, particularly how this has taken many different forms over four years of doctoral research.

I’ve blogged (at decidedly irregular intervals) throughout the process. I¬†blogged about my initial ideas, tentatively. As my research developed, I blogged about the emerging results,¬†particularly when I struggled to make sense of particular findings.¬†Discussions that resulted from sharing ideas — at conferences/workshops¬†(e.g. ALTC14/15, OER15/16/17, Networked Learning 14/16, dLRN15, NextGenDL16, OEGlobal17) and in related posts here in the blog — were instrumental in helping me to develop my thinking and analysis.

And then, as all open practitioners know, due to my open research practice, I’ve connected with many others. As a result, I’ve been fortunate to have many opportunities to share, discuss, and deepen my work, most recently with staff in the e/merge Africa network and the Open Education Tuesdays network and in many global conversations about openness in this Year of Open. One keynote (OER16) made its way into an EDUCAUSE Review article, just published today —¬†Open Education, Open Questions. And I’ve had the joy of collaborating with some amazingly smart and wonderful people including Laura Czerniewicz, Caroline Kuhn, Vivien Rolfe, Frances Bell, Laura Gogia, Maha Bali, Alan Levine, and many more. Thank you all.

When I embarked on this research I had a large and lively PLN. That network is so much richer now. I joined GO-GN¬†(Global OER Network), a network of postgraduate researchers in the area of open education (all open education researchers: do join!). The support I’ve found in that network has been invaluable — from formal GO-GN activities organised by the OER Hub (e.g. webinars, annual workshop) to the informal collaborations and friendships springing from the¬†network.

All of which brings me to the writing-up-the-thesis stage. Beginning last summer, I turned my focus inward somewhat, spending less time on social media and more time immersed in my findings and writing/rewriting — thesis chapters as well as proposals, abstracts, and papers. Sometimes, I couldn’t find words to blog.¬†All of that open research and networking took another form, however. That lively and generous network of open researchers and practitioners checked in, sent encouragement, provided feedback, and generally showed up in all kinds of ways to say Keep Going. Those were sometimes expressions in open spaces…

…but more often they were DMs, emails, cards — too many creative expressions of encouragement to count. The gift of openness returns in myriad ways, so many of which I am just learning about now.

To all who’ve reached out, in any way at all, I extend my thanks. I have a few more weeks of intense writing and editing ahead of me, but I hope to emerge ready to move forward to yet another stage of open research. Chrissi Nerrantzi has been a role model in terms of openly sharing the steps of completion, thesis submission, and preparing for the viva. Beyond that, however, I plan to continue, as the title of my blog suggests: learning, reflecting and sharing as an open educator and open researcher.

OK now, back to #writing that thesis…

Image: CC0 Oliver Cole from Unsplash.

 

12May/17

Conversations about Teaching & Learning

http://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/open-education-risks-rewards/

I’m a lover of a variety of podcasts — education, science, politics, arts & culture. I listen to learn, to laugh, to be moved (and, honestly, often to be transported elsewhere as I inch¬†through another of Galway’s traffic jams). A wonderful find¬†of the past year has been¬†Teaching in Higher Ed¬†by Bonni Stachowiak.

A recent¬†episode with Clint Smith moved me immensely, and as a result I’m now reading¬†Counting Descent.¬†For this one podcast conversation alone I am grateful to Bonni. But there are others — Bryan Alexander and Mike Caulfield with their unique and expansive views¬†of digital literacy,¬†Bonnie Stewart on¬†networked pedagogy and identity, Autumm Caines on digital citizenship, and deep considerations of¬†teaching by Thea Wolf, Sean Michael Morris, and Gardner Campbell. I’ve many more episodes in the queue for listening.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to¬†record a podcast with Bonni, exploring¬†open education and social justice and more: the¬†episode was posted yesterday. Bonni made this such a wonderful, enjoyable experience. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of a much bigger conversation in this field – I learn from so many. So thank you, Bonni, for your¬†kindness and generosity to me and to educators everywhere. You’ve sparked more thinking and conversations than you’ll ever know.

As for other podcasts, here are some that are on my phone right now:

…any other suggestions?

 

24Apr/17

Opening up Open Pedagogy

https://blog.mahabali.me/blog/whyopen/what-is-open-pedagogy-yearofopen-hangout-april-24/

Many thanks to Maha Bali for organising tonight’s Open Pedagogy Hangout. Maha has curated a number of blog posts about open pedagogy and also started a Google doc to collect notes, links, etc: http://bit.ly/CurateOpenPed. Thanks to all who have blogged and shared their thoughts. I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate and looking forward to tonight’s conversation very much.

I’ve blogged recently about my understanding of open pedagogy and OEP (considered together and separately) and also about how I’ve defined OEP (inclusive of open pedagogy) in the course of my PhD research. As I’ve explored both the history and current practice of open education, I’ve found it useful to note two broad strands of definitions of OEP/open pedagogy: those focused on OER (and the 5Rs) and broader definitions. I’m re-reading some of this work in preparation for tonight’s hangout. In reading some of my notes on the earlier open education literature, I’ve been drawn to particular ideas and quotes — not complete, not comprehensive, but catching my interest today. I share them here. (Please note: not all of these are available open source, but I will be happy to share PDFs with you if you’d like them.)

Postscript: I’ve made two updates to this post, 3 hours after first publishing it. Firstly, I’ve added a link to the Open practices: briefing paper (Beetham, et al. 2012) — a key source with respect to OER and OEP, mistakenly omitted in my haste earlier. Secondly, the list shared here is a selection of work published between 1975 and 2012. I’ve omitted later references as I don’t wish to pre-empt current thinking about this topic by those participating in tonight’s discussion and/or blogging about the topic this week. For current thinking by all engaged in this discussion, please see Maha’s curated list of blog posts and the Google doc — links at the top of this post. With thanks, as always, to Myles Horton and Paulo Freire: “We make the road by walking“.

Open education, open learning, open pedagogy, OER, OEP…

Open learning is an imprecise phrase to which a range of meanings can be, and is, attached. It eludes definition. But as an inscription to be carried in procession on a banner, gathering adherents and enthusiasms, it has great potential. For its very imprecision enables it to accommodate many different ideas and aims. (MacKenzie, 1975 in Keegan, 1990)

Open education in America is a manifest part of the liberal politics and the reform rhetoric that helped define an era in our recent history. The open classroom approach “arrived” in this country in the late sixties. As methodology, we primarily imported it from England, known widely as the Leicestershire Model, or the Integrated Day, or simply the informal classroom. A series of articles in 1967 by Joseph Featherstone in The New Republic ably publicized the innovative British practices, and educators like Lillian Weber made notable efforts to analyze and adapt them to American settings. (Mai, 1978)

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. (Noddings & Enright, 1983)

Definition of open learning: increased flexibility and user choice over all aspects of the learning process. (Lewis, 1992)

The approach of the authors is based on the pedagogy of dialogue of Paulo Freire. Its aim is to point out some indications to establish a digital inclusion that transcends utilitarian limits and a merely operational access to machines and programs. That is, an inclusion that is also social, cultural, and political. (Corney, 2006)

New literacy practices are aligned with an ‚Äúopen pedagogy‚ÄĚ that embraces collaborative knowledge creation, participatory education models, experiential practices, mentoring, and apprenticeships. (Corney, 2006)

The expanding global collection of open educational resources… contribute to making education more accessible, especially where money for learning materials is scarce. They also nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need. However, open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning. (Cape Town Open Declaration, 2007) www.capetowndeclaration.org

The historically more certain boundaries ‚Äď where information and communications were controlled by universities ‚Äď is being lost. Institutions are struggling to make sense of how to operate in this changed and permeable space. The mind sets and frameworks of references that we have used hitherto are no longer adequate. Many boundaries have blurred: virtual and physical localities, professional and social lives, formal and informal learning, knowledge consumption and production. (Armstrong & Franklin, 2008)

A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby experienced participants pass along knowledge to novices. In a participatory culture, members also believe their contributions matter and feel some degree of social connection with one another. (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton, & Robison, 2009)

‚ÄėOpen pedagogy‚Äô approaches involving collaborative, co-productive and more ‚Äėequal‚Äô roles between ‚Äėteacher‚Äô and ‚Äėlearner‚Äô than hitherto implemented are both possible and made more effective by social networking technologies and social networking environments. (Cullen, Cullen, Hayward, & Maes, 2009)

While acknowledging the potential value of content, we contend, however, that it is the opening up of educational processes, which we are calling Open Pedagogy (OP) enabled by the Web 2.0 technologies that are set to play the more transformational role in the collaboration between students and lecturers‚Ķ Even if the technological infrastructure exists to allow materials to be a button-click away, unless lecturers are willing to share their materials or pedagogy, the technological affordance will remain unrealised‚Ķ the sharing of the pedagogical process, what we see as ‘open pedagogy’. (Hodgkinson-Williams & Gray, 2009)

The concept of ‚Äėopen pedagogy‚Äô (Hodgkinson-Williams & Gray 2009) is in line with Conole‚Äôs definition of ‚Äėopen educational practices‚Äô (OEP)‚Ķ ‚Äúthe set of activities and support around the creation, use and repurposing of Open Educational Resources. It also includes the contextual settings within which these practices occur‚Ä̂Ķ The move to incorporate ‚Äėpractice‚Äô in the definition signifies the acknowledgement that content disembedded from its context is difficult to adapt without some understanding of the pedagogical and epistemological assumptions underlying the creation of the resource. The latter are of particular import as different views on what is considered ‚Äėworthwhile knowledge‚Äô are likely to increase with the ready access to materials from different parts of the world. (Hodgkinson-Williams, 2010)

Open teaching is described as the facilitation of learning experiences that are open, transparent, collaborative, and social. Open teachers are advocates of a free and open knowledge society, and support their students in the critical consumption, production, connection, and synthesis of knowledge through the shared development of learning networks. (Couros, 2010)

OEP are defined as practices which support the (re)use and production of OER through institutional policies, promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path. OEP address the whole OER governance community: policy makers, managers/ administrators of organisations, educational professionals and learners. (Andrade et al., 2011)

Open educational practices, in light of JISC’s case studies and the Capetown declaration, seem to encompass all of the following: production, management, use and reuse of open educational resources;¬†Developing and applying open/public pedagogies in teaching practice; open learning and gaining access to open learning opportunities; practising open scholarship to encompass open access publication, open science and open research; open sharing of teaching ideas and know-how; and using open technologies (web-based platforms, applications and services) in an educational context. (Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L., & Littlejohn, A., 2012)

 References:

Andrade, A., Ehlers, U.-D., Caine, A., Carneiro, R., Conole, G., Kairamo, A.-K., … Holmberg, C. (2011). Beyond OER: Shifting focus to open educational practices. Open Education Quality Initiative (OPAL).

Armstrong, J., & Franklin, T. (2008). A review of current and developing international practice in the use of social networking (Web 2.0) in higher education (Commissioned paper). London: Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience.

Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L., & Littlejohn, A. (2012). Open practices: briefing paper. JISC, 2012

Calder, J. (2000). Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 1(1).

Corney, T. (2006). Youth work in schools: Should youth workers also be teachers? Youth Studies Australia, 25(3), 17.

Couros, A. (2010). Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. Athabasca University Press.

Cullen, J., Cullen, C., Hayward, D., & Maes, V. (2009). Good practices for learning 2.0: Promoting inclusion (No. JRC 53578). Joint Research Centre, European Commission.

Hodgkinson-Williams, C. (2010). Benefits and challenges of OER for higher education institutions, OER Workshop for Heads of Commonwealth Universities. Cape Town, South Africa: Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

Hodgkinson-Williams, C., & Gray, E. (2009). Degrees of openness: The emergence of OER at the University of Cape Town. International Journal of Education and Development Using Information and Communication Technology, 5(5), 101‚Äď116.

Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Keegan, D. (1990). Open learning: Concepts and costs, successes and failures. In OLNT’90 Proceedings. Curtin University of Technology, Perth: Australian Society for Educational Technology.

Lewis, R. (1992). Approaches to staff development in open learning: The role of a competence framework, Open Learning, November 2011, 20-33.

Mai, R. P. (1978). Open education: From ideology to orthodoxy. Peabody Journal of Education, 55(3), 231‚Äď237.

Noddings, N., & Enright, D. S. (1983). The promise of open education. Theory Into Practice, 22(3), 182‚Äď189.

14Apr/17

A domain of my own

A Room of One’s Own, CC BY 2.0 cogdog (Flickr)

At last! Thanks to modeling* and encouragement from so many of you, a friendly nudge from Jim Groom in Galway last week, and support from all the lovely folks at Reclaim Hosting, I have A Domain of My Own: http://catherinecronin.net.

Welcome to my new home… more to come ūüôā

* American English spelling, with apologies to all my Irish/UK role-modelling friends ūüėČ

 

31Mar/17

Grateful for openness

Post-#OEGlobal and pre-#OER17, my mind is on fire. At the end of Open Education Week and Brexit week; working on another draft chapter for my PhD, yet pulled in the direction of events in Ireland, the US, Mosul, Venezuela and more, my mind is on fire. I have many posts to write but I shall write one, in gratitude.

To my GO-GN colleagues, including the OER Hub team who pull it all together so beautifully, I thank you for an unforgettable week of scholarship and friendship in Cape Town earlier this month. Together we shared meals, our work, our worries, our stories, photos of our families, our dreams for the future. We worked for hours together, we walked in Cape Town together, and some of us visited Robben Island together. I thank each of you for giving and receiving so openly. I look forward to learning from and with you all in the future.

To all who shared your work, your ideas,¬†and your feedback¬†at¬†OE Global, thank you. I’ve blogged already about my initial reflections; your¬†work is still resonating with me.

To Lisa Marie Blaschke, thank you for inviting Lorna Campbell, Chrissi Nerantzi, Fabio Nascimbeni and me to participate in EDEN‘s¬†#OpenEducationWk webinar this week to explore “being open” with educators and researchers — so enjoyable to share stories and resources.

To the #101openstories team, thank you for starting something beautiful this week. I loved the#101openstories I read by Frances Bell and Sheila MacNeill, and hope to read more. Thank you all.

To Jim Groom, thank you for accepting our invitation to come to Ireland! You’re in Cork today, heading for Galway on Monday. A warm welcome awaits you here, from 40 people bursting with curiosity and ready to explore Student as Partner, Producer and Assessor: Exploring Domain of One’s Own. Can’t wait ūüôā

To Josie Fraser, Alek Tarkowski, and the ALT team, thank you for organising and meticulously planning OER17. The conference is already facilitating some incredible conversations and collaborations around the politics of open. Next week’s conference, with so many ways to participate (looking at you Virtually Connecting at OER17), promises to be something special. Muireann O’Keeffe, Laura Czerniewicz and I are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the plenary panel Mapping the Politics of Open – we’ve been enjoying our conversations as we prepare for that.

Also, thanks Laura Czerniewicz for jumping into the unknown with me as we combine our thinking for our OER17 session: Critical pragmatism and critical advocacy: Addressing the challenges of openness. And Caroline Kuhn, thank you for modelling open and generous scholarship so deeply at ¬†GO-GN and OE Global, and for our¬†extended¬†conversations¬†about what we have learned in our respective PhD research studies, which we’ll share in our¬†OER17 workshop:¬†Towards open praxis: Storytelling and narrative inquiry in open education research.

And finally, thanks to my PLN, i.e. all the smart, generous, courageous human beings who inspire me every day to do and stay true to this work.

I am grateful for openness.

Image: Revolución a la Educación es Aquí CC0 by @cogdog

…and with that image credit (yes, I know it’s CC0, but still nice to acknowledge the creator ūüôā ) a final word of thanks to Alan Levine for embodying the spirit of openness and open learning so completely (and with joy). Thanks @cogdog.

 

27Mar/17

Student as partner, producer, and assessor: Workshop with Jim Groom

Burren fossil CC BY-SA 2.0 catherinecronin

On Monday, April 3rd (one week from today!) Jim Groom will join us here at NUI Galway to facilitate a workshop: Student as Partner, Producer & Assessor: Exploring Domain of One’s Own.

The workshop is free to attend thanks to sponsorship from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education. The workshop is part of the National Forum’s 2016-17 seminar series and also a key event in 2017 All Aboard (April 3-7) a week-long series of national and regional public events designed to build confidence in Ireland’s digital skills for learning.

Jim was previously the director of Teaching & Learning Technologies and adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington (USA) and is the co-founder of Reclaim Hosting. He is a co-developer of the Domain of One’s Own (DoOO) initiative. Jim’s recent post Next Generation Digital Learning Environments gives a good idea of his work and his thinking. He is also excited to be visiting Ireland for the first time.

In the Student as Partner, Producer & Assessor workshop on April 3rd, we will explore participatory pedagogies, a partnership approach to teaching and learning, and agentic/authentic assessment. In addition, Jim will guide participants in creating their own domains and discussing how DoOO can be used in learning, teaching and assessment.

All are welcome to join the workshop. Eilis O’Regan, programme coordinator at NUI Galway and newcomer to blogging, recently shared her thoughts about the workshop in A nod to the Woolf:

I feel like the educational stars have aligned ‚Äď I‚Äôm so excited about attending this workshop.

There are just a few places still available — please sign up if you‚Äôd like to attend (no workshop fee and lunch will be provided). We‚Äôd love to see you here in Galway.

Student as Partner, Producer & Assessor: Exploring Domain of One’s Own

Related reading:

22Mar/17

OEP and open pedagogy: #OEGlobal reflections

I recently returned from 10 days in Cape Town, participating in the Open Education Global Conference and GO-GN seminar and working with fellow open education researchers at the Centre for Innovation in Learning & Teaching at UCT. All were deeply enriching experiences, both personally and professionally, in a place I’ve come to love after two visits in the past year.

For those who may not know, GO-GN is a global network of PhD students working in open education. The annual 2.5-day GO-GN seminar immediately precedes the OE Global conference, but this event is just part of a broader programme and network of mutual support. Chrissi Nerantzi and Martin Weller have written wonderful blog posts about the GO-GN Cape Town experience already; mine will follow. This post is a summary of some my reflections following the 3-day OE Global conference, particularly with respect to OEP and open pedagogy.

OE Global Conference, Cape Town

This was my first time attending #OEGlobal (after several years following online) and it was deeply worthwhile for the scholarship, friendship, and inspiration. The OE Global programme (with links to most presentations) is well worth exploring, as are the #OEGlobal tweets. Educators and researchers from 47 countries across 6 continents participated in the conference. The range and quality of work was stunning. A standout was the ROER4D project comprising 18 evidence-based OER research studies across the Global South with the aim of improving educational policy, practice, and research in developing countries. There were conference presentations by many of the 18 ROER4D studies as well as a report on the project meta-synthesis by Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams: Adoption and impact of OEP and OER in the Global South.

ROER4D researchers at OE Global

Another standout for me was the discussion of work being done by many in the US community college sector to boost college access and completion for underserved and at-risk students through the creation of OER-based or Z-degrees. These efforts and the OER Degree Initiative were discussed in the OER Degrees panel.

A foundational theme of much of the work shared at OE Global was social justice. Many presentations foregrounded social justice as a core value of our work in open education. This began with the opening keynote by Narend Baijnath, continued with the Day Two keynote by Patricia Arinto, and was highlighted in numerous presentations (e.g. by OEPScotland, Preston Davis, Jamison Miller and myselflinks are to relevant slides/presentations). Engaging in these conversations in South Africa, following the recent #FeesMustFall protests, provided a powerful opportunity for each of us to consider our work in the context of calls for free and decolonised education. At the conference, Laura Czerniewicz summarised three aspects of decolonising higher education: recognising how power relations are enacted and instantiated in curricula and policies; foregrounding African/Global South content and contexts; and promoting and engaging in dialogue between different epistemic traditions (Global South & Global North). See also Sukaina Walji’s recent post: A role for open education in the #feesmustfall movement in South African higher education.

As always after such a rich feast of ideas, there are far too many strands to explore fully. However, one is closely related to my PhD research in open educational practices. There was much discussion at the conference about both OEP and open pedagogy. How do these concepts relate to one another? They overlap, but how exactly? There is a great deal of work going on in both #OEP and #openped at the moment, so how might we productively join some of these conversations?

OEP and open pedagogy

For some time now I’ve been paying attention not just to the nature of the work being done by many in the global open education community, but also to differences in emphasis across different sectors and regions. For example, much foundational work in open textbooks is rooted in and continues in North America (e.g. BCcampus Open Textbook project and Z-Degree programmes). More recently, a flourishing movement has emerged around open pedagogy (check out #openped) led by innovative educators such as Robin deRosa, Karen Cangialosi, Scott Robison, Rajiv Jhangiani, David Wiley, and others.

In the UK, and to a certain extent here in Ireland, there is much work/discussion re: OER, less emphasis (though increasing) on open textbooks, and a deep and growing engagement with OEP and critical approaches to openness. These emphases will feature prominently in the upcoming OER Conference #OER17 ‚ÄėThe Politics of Open‚Äô (April 5-6), as they already do in projects and networks such as the¬†Open Education Research Hub¬†(who also support GO-GN),¬†ALT‚Äôs¬†Open Education SIG,¬†Open Scotland,¬†OEPScotland, and¬†UK OER (the UKOER project officially ended in 2012 but the community continues via¬†#ukoer and¬†@ukoer ‚Äď thanks to¬†@dkernohan).

With its truly global scope, OE Global provided an opportunity to learn from and about a diverse range of research and researchers. I attended as many OEP and open pedagogy sessions as was possible and spoke with many, many wonderful open scholars. Following the conference, as part of my own research, I searched the conference programme and #OEGlobal tweets for terms related to OEP and open pedagogy. Despite these efforts, it‚Äôs likely I have omitted something important. Apologies in advance ‚Äď and please do add a comment to this post if you wish to add some missing work or a different interpretation. Our work can only improve with multiple perspectives.

OEP and open pedagogy presentations at OE Global

The global scope of OEP work was very clear at the conference. Research explicitly mentioning OEP was shared by researchers from 11 different projects/studies based in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Tasmania, Brazil, Canada, Scotland, and Ireland. A further 3 presentations focused specifically on open pedagogy, from projects based in South Africa, the US, and the Netherlands.

Many of the OEP studies referenced earlier foundational work in open educational practices. These key papers can be considered in three main groups:

i) work emerging from CILT (Centre for Innovation in Learning & Teaching), University of Cape Town — focusing on¬†5 dimensions of openness: technical, legal, cultural, pedagogical, financial.

ii) work arising from the Open Education Quality (OPAL) Initiative (2010-11) — espousing a¬†definition of OEP linked closely to¬†open pedagogy:¬†“collaborative practice in which resources are shared by making them openly available, and pedagogical practices are employed which rely on social interaction, knowledge creation, peer-learning, and shared learning practices.‚ÄĚ

iii) work arising from the UK OER Programme (2009-2012) — using an expansive definition of OEP including the¬†creation, use and reuse of OER as well as open pedagogies, open learning, open access publishing, and use of open technologies.

In addition, 2 of the 3 open pedagogy presentations (and some OEP presentations, e.g. Gachago, et al.) referenced the 8 attributes of open pedagogy model:

Summary

The above gives an indication of the scope and nature of research shared at the OE Global conference in the areas of OEP and open pedagogy. While it might seem from the summary here that open pedagogy was a minor strand of the conference, the discussion of open pedagogy was not limited to the 3 sessions listed. Open pedagogy is, of course, a key element of OEP. Together, OEP and open pedagogy comprised a main strand of discussion at the conference: in the sessions, in the panel discussions, and in many informal conversations.

For those of us working in open education, myself included, the work shared at OE Global provides a strong basis for discussion, comparison, and potential collaboration. Some important areas which I would like to explore further, in my own research and in collaboration with others, are these:

  • Decentering northern epistemology. With global research funding, production, and dissemination skewed so heavily toward the Global North, it may be easy for many in the North to fail ‚Äúto see‚ÄĚ global inequalities in knowledge production. But see we must. Researchers in the Global North have a collective responsibility to deepen our awareness of epistemic traditions beyond our own, to challenge deeply held assumptions about knowledge and power, to promote and engage in South-North dialogue and collaboration, and much more. As noted by the ROER4D project during the conference, this is particularly important in open education.
  • The relationship between OER and OEP/open pedagogy. A growing number of research studies, across different contexts, reveal an increasingly complex relationship between OER and OEP/open pedagogy. In addition to OER opening the door to OEP/open pedagogy, the reverse may also be the case. This has emerged in my research (in Irish higher education) and in research studies by Czerniewicz, et al. (in South African higher education) and Penny Bentley (in Australian secondary education). I believe¬†these findings are important and may be part of an inflection point in open education. What is emerging in other contexts?
  • Defining OEP and open pedagogy. One of the many benefits of attending OE Global was the opportunity to discuss these challenging questions with many of the people whose work informs and inspires my own. I know, for example, that David Wiley defines open pedagogy very precisely as ‚Äúthe set of teaching and learning practices that are only possible or practical in the context of the free access and 5R permissions characteristic of open educational resources‚ÄĚ. My research focuses on how open educational practices emerge in contexts where open education/OER policies do not exist. David and I¬†approach our work from different standpoints, but seek to address similar questions. At the conference, David and I discussed this. We both agreed that open pedagogy is a constituent of OEP. But the door is open for further discussion and work. What else is useful and important in building definitions and frameworks of open pedagogy and OEP?

This work continues.

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As a postscript, here are links to the work that I shared at the OE Global conference: “Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of OEP in higher education” paper, presentation, and links to all papers referenced in my presentation.

My sincere¬†thanks to the wonderful¬†OE Global conference chair Glenda Cox, the programme committee and conference organisers, all of the conference presenters and participants, and to my inspiring GO-GN colleagues. Thanks to you all for an amazing week in Cape Town — the scholarship, friendship, music, drumming and dancing. Unforgettable.

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GO-GN Cape Town (almost everyone)

GO-GN at work!

Images: all images CC BY-SA catherinecronin on Flickr