Whether we consider ourselves to be open education practitioners or researchers, advocates or critics, wonderers or agnostics, our motivating questions regarding openness are likely to be different, often very different. For example:
- How can we minimise the cost of textbooks?
- How can we help students to build and to own their content and portfolios?
- How might we support and empower learners in making informed choices about their digital identities and digital engagement?
- How might we build knowledge as a collective endeavour?
- How can we broaden access to education, particularly in ways that do not reinforce existing inequalities (Czerniewicz, 2015)?
Openness may help us in addressing such questions. Engaging with the complexity and contextuality of openness is important, however, if we wish to be keepers not only of openness, but also of hope, equality and justice (McMillan Cottom, 2015). With the help of others, Catherine will explore some of these broader questions and critical approaches to openness, as well as sharing results from her research exploring how educators conceptualize openness and open educational practices (Beetham, et al, 2012).
Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L., & Littlejohn, A. (2012). Open practices: Briefing paper. JISC.
Czerniewicz, L. (2015). Confronting inequitable power dynamics of global knowledge production and exchange. Water Wheel 14(5), pp. 26-28.
McMillan Cottom, T. (2015). The access paradox: Can education expansion balance access with equity. Keynote address at International Council for Open and Distance Education, University of South Africa. October 2015.