This webinar is a contribution to
Digital Literacy and Open Practice,
a module in City, University of London’s
MA in Academic Practice.
Thanks to Jane Secker for the invitation.
Participants in this module have been exploring
digital literacies and openness, so I’ll focus on
a few key ideas and resources
re: critical approaches to openness
and critical digital/data literacies.
All webinar resources are available here:
Please type in the chat window…
What are some examples of
you are currently engaged in,
or are, perhaps, considering?
Image: CC BY csessums
Not universally experienced
Complex & contextual
Requires digital capability & agency
Both descriptive & aspirational
Critical discourse is essential
“Move from access to equity & justice”
Tressie McMillan Cottom (2015)
to openness & open education
“criticism of what exists,
restoring what is being
lost, pointing towards
possible futures; and
being criticized ourselves”
(Michael Apple, 1990)
a focus on the concrete
operations of power and a
rejection of all forms of
(as in critical pedagogy)
Who defines openness?
Who is included and who is excluded when education is ‘opened’,
and in what ways?
In what contexts and ways do open education initiatives achieve
their aims (e.g. increasing access, fostering inclusivity, enhancing
learning, developing capacity and agency, empowering
individuals, groups, and communities), if at all?
Could open education initiatives, in practice, do the opposite of
what they are intended to do? What does that look like?
What does emancipatory open education look like?
Critical approaches to openness
4 dimensions shared by open educators
The role of higher education, and educators, is to
work on nurturing digital literacies across the
curriculum, taking into account the inequalities
of access to opportunities to develop digital
literacies before and outside of higher education,
and keeping in mind the intersectionality of
incoming students and how their priorities within
digital literacies will differ.
Maha Bali (2016)
In Alexander, et al. Digital literacy in higher education, Part II,
NMC Horizon Project
We define radical digital citizenship as a
process by which individuals and groups committed to
social justice critically analyse the social, political and
economic consequences of digital technologies in
everyday life and collectively deliberate and take action
to build alternative and emancipatory technologies and
… the cornerstone is the insistence that citizenship is a
process of becoming – that it is an active and
reflective state for individual and collective thinking and
practice for collective action for the common good.
Akwugo Emejulu & Callum McGregor (2016)
Critical technological consciousness… not only
necessary for creating the mass demand that digital platforms
and tools strive to uphold democratic principles but also for
creating a body politic capable of recognizing the often-
overlooked ways software can alternately impinge or advance
democratic freedoms and steering them accordingly.
Given the universality and urgency of political issues related to
digital tools and platforms, we should recognize the cultivation of
critical technological consciousness as a core responsibility of
educational practices today.
Erin R. Glass (2018)
The digital divide is a noun; it is the consequence of
many forces. In contrast, digital redlining is a verb,
the “doing” of difference, a “doing” whose consequences
reinforce existing class structures. In one era, redlining
created differences in physical access to schools,
libraries, and home ownership. In my classes, we work
to recognize how digital redlining is integrated into
technologies, and especially education technologies,
and is producing similar kinds of discriminatory results.
Chris Gilliard (2017)
Engaging in open practice is:
The heart of all approaches to open practices…
to develop critical digital and data literacies
and to foster agency on the part of all
learners and educators regarding whether, how,
and in what contexts they choose to be open.
Image: CC0 Grant Czerwinski
If we lived in a democratic state our language would have to
hurtle, fly, course and sing, in all the undeniable and
representative and participating voices of everybody here.
We would make our language conform to the truth of our
many selves and we would make our language lead us into
the quality of power that a democratic state must represent.
June Jordan (1987)
Le spectre de la rose Jerome Robbins Dance Division
from the New York Public Library (public domain)
To hope is to give
yourself to the future,
and that commitment
to the future
makes the present
Rebecca Solnit (2004)
Hope in the Dark