Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices for teaching in higher education

Catherine Cronin

National University of Ireland, Galway

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 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 open educational practices for teaching. Openness is a sociocultural phenomenon; educators “can shape or be shaped by openness” (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012a). It is this individual meaning-making and praxis that is explored in this paper. The study was carried out at one European university. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with educators across multiple disciplines. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, four dimensions were found to be 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.

Veletsianos, G., and Kimmons, R. (2012). Assumptions and challenges of open scholarship. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(4), 166-189.

Presentation

Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices for teaching in higher education from Open Education Consortium