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Locks on our bridges: Critical and generative lenses for open education

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Presentation at ATI Camp 2017, Plymouth State University

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Locks on our bridges: Critical and generative lenses for open education

  1. 1. Locks on our bridges: Critical and generative lenses on open education Amy Collier, Ph.D Associate Provost for Digital Learning, Middlebury College @amcollier
  2. 2. We act — at our peril — as if “open” is politically neutral, let alone politically good or progressive. Indeed, we sometimes use the word to stand in place of a politics of participatory democracy.We presume that, because something is “open” that it necessarily contains all the conditions for equality or freedom or justice.We use “open” as though it is free of ideology, ignoring how much “openness,” particularly as it’s used by technologists, is closely intertwined with “meritocracy” — this notion, a false one, that “open” wipes away inequalities, institutions, biases, history, that “open” “levels the playing field.” If we believe in equality, if we believe in participatory democracy and participatory culture, if we believe in people and progressive social change, if we believe in sustainability in all its environmental and economic and psychological manifestations, then we need to do better than slap that adjective “open” onto our projects and act as though that’s sufficient or — and this is hard, I know — even sound. Audrey Watters, “From Open to Justice” Hack Education Photo by thr3 eyes, CC0 via Unsplash
  3. 3. “all forms of openness entail forms of closed-ness” Photo by me. Hello, Cairo!
  4. 4. “The question is not whether to make education more open, but what forms of openness and closed-ness are justifiable.To bring to the fore the paradoxical inter-relationship of open–closed-ness is to investigate the micro-practices of education and their powerful effects, the specific forms they take and the possibilities for alternative practices. It is to deconstruct openness as an inherently worthwhile educational goal and bring to the fore explicit questions about the basis upon what specific forms of selectivity and closure are justifiable in particular educational practices, however open.” Edwards, 2015 Photo by Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 & GFDL
  5. 5. 1) There are definitional issues with openness, and often a false binary is established between “open” and “closed.” (issues of definition also lead to problematic “openwashing” w/ branded digital content and platforms); 2) An overemphasis on access to content homogenizes learners and their contexts; 3) Open educational practice does not attend sufficiently to issues of power and inclusion. Photo by me. It’s a hermit hole
  6. 6. 1) There are definitional issues with openness, and often a false binary is established between “open” and “closed.” (issues of definition also lead to problematic “openwashing” w/ branded digital content and platforms); 2) An overemphasis on access to content homogenizes learners and their contexts; 3) Open educational practice does not attend sufficiently to issues of power and inclusion. Photo by me. Did I mention this is Scotland?
  7. 7. 1) There are definitional issues with openness, and often a false binary is established between “open” and “closed.” (issues of definition also lead to problematic “openwashing” w/ branded digital content and platforms); 2) An overemphasis on access to content homogenizes learners and their contexts; 3) Open educational practice does not attend sufficiently to issues of power and inclusion. Photo by me. Parts of Outlander filmed nearby
  8. 8. 1) There are definitional issues with openness, and often a false binary is established between “open” and “closed.” (issues of definition also lead to problematic “openwashing” w/ branded digital content and platforms); 2) An overemphasis on access to content homogenizes learners and their contexts; 3) Open educational practice does not attend sufficiently to issues of power and inclusion. Photo by me. Parts of Outlander filmed nearby
  9. 9. not-yetness Photo by me. Lovely Cairo.
  10. 10. embraces agency, and related risk & messiness is, at its core, about love considers the edges, possible futures, & borderlands Photo by me. These are called Snow Drops.
  11. 11. “complexity invites us to understand that many of the processes and activities that shape the worlds we inhabit are open, recursive, organic, nonlinear and emergent. It also invites us to be skeptical of mechanistic and reductionist explanations, which assume that these processes and activities are linear, deterministic and/or predictable and, therefore, that they can be controlled (at least in principle).” Gough, 2012 Photo by me. Have a seat. Take a load off.
  12. 12. "Mexico/US Pacific Ocean border fence" by Tony Webster. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons. “Borders are set up to define the spaces that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them...A borderland is a vague undetermined place created by the residue of an unnatural boundary.” Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands / La Frontera
  13. 13. Photo by Flickr user fauxto_digit, CC-BY 2.0 Collier & Ross, 2016 “digital practices contribute to the fruitful mess that characterises education, casting new light on issues of power, responsibility, sustainability, reach and contact. …a key element of emerging technology is its not-yetness: there is so much we do not know when we engage with these technologies. We must therefore choose to dwell as teachers in [a] state of radical and enduring uncertainty …We need practices that acknowledge and work with complexity to help us stay open to what may be genuinely surprising about what happens when online learning and teaching meets emerging technologies.”
  14. 14. http://middcreate.net
  15. 15. Amy’s advice: Get lost in @holden (Mike Caulfield) goodness
  16. 16. https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/
  17. 17. http://digipo.io/doku.php
  18. 18. http://digipo.io/doku.php
  19. 19. http://wikity.cc
  20. 20. http://ds106.us
  21. 21. 1.What space is in these practices for distinctiveness, diversity, open-endedness? 2. How much uncertainty can this approach to openness accommodate? 3.What closures come along with these practices? What is in the borderlands? Photo by Steinar Engeland, CC0 via Unsplash
  22. 22. acollier@middlebury.edu @amcollier http://redpincushion.me http://digitallearning.middcreate.net Use my images! https://flic.kr/s/aHskWorcbQ

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