Open knowledge across boundaries– a case-study on controversies

Anne Algers

University of Gothenburg

Complex and controversial issues in society benefit from a social process of learning. Social learning is argued beyond utilize pluralism and diversity also to challenge mental models and require new learning approaches. The use of open educational resources is a new learning approach for collaboration both within and across disciplinary and organizational boundaries.
The creation and use of an open educational resource about a contested area shed some light on aspects such as inclusiveness and controversies, empowerment and risk of bias. Focus group discussions are used to analyse how an open educational resource may be used as a boundary object. The discussions between involved stakeholders are video recorded, transcribed in their fully length and analysed.
The study indicates that academia has high responsibility in the creation of open educational resources in times where learners have difficulties to differentiate between reliable and innacurate, biased or unsubstantiated information. Advantages of open educational practices such as empowerment of citizens and information symmetry, quality improvements and robustness of science is also discussed. Disadvantages such as difficulties in handling polarised discussions on controversial issues, cultural differences and scarcity and quality also worried the participants.

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Open knowledge across boundaries– a case-study on controversies from Open Education Consortium