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Openness and praxis:
exploring the use of
open educational practices
in higher education
Catherine Cronin
CELT, NUI Galway
@catherinecronin
slideshare.net/cicronin
Digital Learning Research Symposium
Dublin 01-Nov-2016 #NextGenDL
Image: CC0 1.0 cogdog
short summary of
1st phase of my PhD research study:
exploring the use of
open educational practices (OEP)
in higher education
networked
educators
networked
students
Physical
Spaces
Bounded
Online
Spaces
Open
Online
Spaces
Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 Catherine Cronin, built on original Networked Teacher image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Alec Couros
Higher education
Much is published about benefits of and barriers to
openness, and interpretations of openness
Relatively few studies use a critical approach to
openness; relatively few empirical studies
Theoretical context for this study: openness as a
sociocultural phenomenon
Openness and open education
research questions
1. In what ways do academic staff use
open educational practices (OEP) for teaching?
2. Why do/don’t academic staff use
open educational practices (OEP) for teaching?
Research questions
Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 Marcel Oosterwijk
…’open’ signals a broad, de-centralized constellation of
practices that skirt the institutional structures and roles by
which formal learning has been organized for generations.
– Bonnie Stewart (2015)
INTERPRETATIONS
of ‘OPEN’
Policy/
Culture
Values
Practices
Activities
LEVELS of
OPENNESS
OEP
(Open Educational
Practices)
OER
(Open Educational
Resources)
Free
Open Admission
(e.g. Open Universities)
IndividualInstitutional
Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 Marcel Oosterwijk
Research approach
Constructivist grounded theory: inductive, comparative, emergent &
open-ended (Strauss & Corbin, 1990); acknowledging social context,
subjectivity & interpretive understandings (Charmaz, 2014)
Research setting
One higher education institution in Ireland
Research method
Semi-structured interviews with 19 members of academic staff *
across multiple disciplines
Research methodology
* academic staff defined broadly as university staff whose responsibilities include teaching,
regardless of job title or terms of employment, e.g. full-time or part-time; permanent,
temporary or no contract
• Many academic staff perceive potential risks
(for themselves & their students) in using OEP for teaching;
some perceive the benefits to outweigh the risks
• A minority of participants (8 of 19) used OEP for teaching
• 2 levels of ‘using OEP for teaching’:
(i) being open, and (ii) teaching openly
• 4 dimensions shared by open educators:
 balancing privacy and openness
 developing digital literacies (self & students)
 valuing social learning
 challenging traditional teaching role expectations
Findings
Balancing
privacy and openness
Developing
digital literacies
4 dimensions shared by educators using OEP for teaching
Balancing
privacy and openness
Developing
digital literacies
Valuing
social learning
Challenging traditional
teaching role expectations
inner circle
(2 dimensions)
Networked
Individuals
both circles
(4 dimensions)
Networked
Educators
4 dimensions shared by educators using OEP for teaching
Balancing privacy & openness
Image: CC BY 2.0 woodleywonderworks
will I share openly (e.g. blog, tweet)?
who will I share with? (context collapse)
who will I share as? (digital identity)
will I share this?
MACRO
MESO
MICRO
NANO
“You’re negotiating all the time.”
• Use of OEP by educators is complex, personal, contextual &
continuously negotiated
• Attention must be paid to the actual experiences & concerns
of academic staff & students (“state-of-the-actual”)
• HEIs require open education strategies & policies that
recognise the benefits, risks & complexities of openness
• HEIs should provide appropriate forms of support for
academic staff in 3 key areas:
 digital identities; digital literacies; digital capabilities
 navigating tensions between privacy & openness
 reflecting on roles as educators & researchers in an
increasingly networked society/participatory culture
Preliminary conclusions
Thank you!
Catherine Cronin
@catherinecronin
about.me/catherinecronin
slideshare.net/cicronin
Image: CC BY 2.0 visualpanic
Bayne, S., Knox, J., & Ross, J. (2015). Open education: The need for a critical approach. Learning, Media
and Technology, 40(3), 247-250.
Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L., & Littlejohn, A. (2012). Open Practices: Briefing Paper. Jisc.
Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory (2nd edition). London: Sage Publications.
Cottom, T. M. (2015). Open and accessible to what and for whom? [Blog post].
Czerniewicz, L. (2015). Confronting inequitable power dynamics of global knowledge production and
exchange. Water Wheel 14(5), 26-28.
Edwards, R. (2015). Knowledge infrastructures and the inscrutability of openness in education. Learning,
Media and Technology, 40(3), 251-264.
Ehlers, U-D. (2011). Extending the territory: From open educational resources to open educational practices.
Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 15(2), 1–10.
Selwyn, N. & Facer, K. (2013). The politics of education and technology: Conflicts, controversies, and
connections. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Stewart, B. (2015). Open to influence: What counts as academic influence in scholarly networked Twitter
participation. Learning, Media and Technology 40(3), 1-23.
Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques
(2nd edition). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Veletsianos, G. (2015). A case study of scholars’ open and sharing practices. Open Praxis, 7(3), 199-209.
Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked participatory scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural
pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58(2), 766–774.
Weller, M. (2014). The Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London:
Ubiquity Press.
References & resources

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Exploring Open Educational Practices in Higher Education

  • 1. Openness and praxis: exploring the use of open educational practices in higher education Catherine Cronin CELT, NUI Galway @catherinecronin slideshare.net/cicronin Digital Learning Research Symposium Dublin 01-Nov-2016 #NextGenDL Image: CC0 1.0 cogdog
  • 2. short summary of 1st phase of my PhD research study: exploring the use of open educational practices (OEP) in higher education
  • 3. networked educators networked students Physical Spaces Bounded Online Spaces Open Online Spaces Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 Catherine Cronin, built on original Networked Teacher image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Alec Couros Higher education
  • 4. Much is published about benefits of and barriers to openness, and interpretations of openness Relatively few studies use a critical approach to openness; relatively few empirical studies Theoretical context for this study: openness as a sociocultural phenomenon Openness and open education
  • 5. research questions 1. In what ways do academic staff use open educational practices (OEP) for teaching? 2. Why do/don’t academic staff use open educational practices (OEP) for teaching? Research questions
  • 6. Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 Marcel Oosterwijk …’open’ signals a broad, de-centralized constellation of practices that skirt the institutional structures and roles by which formal learning has been organized for generations. – Bonnie Stewart (2015)
  • 7. INTERPRETATIONS of ‘OPEN’ Policy/ Culture Values Practices Activities LEVELS of OPENNESS OEP (Open Educational Practices) OER (Open Educational Resources) Free Open Admission (e.g. Open Universities) IndividualInstitutional Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 Marcel Oosterwijk
  • 8. Research approach Constructivist grounded theory: inductive, comparative, emergent & open-ended (Strauss & Corbin, 1990); acknowledging social context, subjectivity & interpretive understandings (Charmaz, 2014) Research setting One higher education institution in Ireland Research method Semi-structured interviews with 19 members of academic staff * across multiple disciplines Research methodology * academic staff defined broadly as university staff whose responsibilities include teaching, regardless of job title or terms of employment, e.g. full-time or part-time; permanent, temporary or no contract
  • 9. • Many academic staff perceive potential risks (for themselves & their students) in using OEP for teaching; some perceive the benefits to outweigh the risks • A minority of participants (8 of 19) used OEP for teaching • 2 levels of ‘using OEP for teaching’: (i) being open, and (ii) teaching openly • 4 dimensions shared by open educators:  balancing privacy and openness  developing digital literacies (self & students)  valuing social learning  challenging traditional teaching role expectations Findings
  • 10. Balancing privacy and openness Developing digital literacies 4 dimensions shared by educators using OEP for teaching
  • 11. Balancing privacy and openness Developing digital literacies Valuing social learning Challenging traditional teaching role expectations inner circle (2 dimensions) Networked Individuals both circles (4 dimensions) Networked Educators 4 dimensions shared by educators using OEP for teaching
  • 12. Balancing privacy & openness Image: CC BY 2.0 woodleywonderworks
  • 13. will I share openly (e.g. blog, tweet)? who will I share with? (context collapse) who will I share as? (digital identity) will I share this? MACRO MESO MICRO NANO “You’re negotiating all the time.”
  • 14. • Use of OEP by educators is complex, personal, contextual & continuously negotiated • Attention must be paid to the actual experiences & concerns of academic staff & students (“state-of-the-actual”) • HEIs require open education strategies & policies that recognise the benefits, risks & complexities of openness • HEIs should provide appropriate forms of support for academic staff in 3 key areas:  digital identities; digital literacies; digital capabilities  navigating tensions between privacy & openness  reflecting on roles as educators & researchers in an increasingly networked society/participatory culture Preliminary conclusions
  • 16. Bayne, S., Knox, J., & Ross, J. (2015). Open education: The need for a critical approach. Learning, Media and Technology, 40(3), 247-250. Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L., & Littlejohn, A. (2012). Open Practices: Briefing Paper. Jisc. Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory (2nd edition). London: Sage Publications. Cottom, T. M. (2015). Open and accessible to what and for whom? [Blog post]. Czerniewicz, L. (2015). Confronting inequitable power dynamics of global knowledge production and exchange. Water Wheel 14(5), 26-28. Edwards, R. (2015). Knowledge infrastructures and the inscrutability of openness in education. Learning, Media and Technology, 40(3), 251-264. Ehlers, U-D. (2011). Extending the territory: From open educational resources to open educational practices. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 15(2), 1–10. Selwyn, N. & Facer, K. (2013). The politics of education and technology: Conflicts, controversies, and connections. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Stewart, B. (2015). Open to influence: What counts as academic influence in scholarly networked Twitter participation. Learning, Media and Technology 40(3), 1-23. Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques (2nd edition). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. Veletsianos, G. (2015). A case study of scholars’ open and sharing practices. Open Praxis, 7(3), 199-209. Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked participatory scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58(2), 766–774. Weller, M. (2014). The Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. References & resources

Editor's Notes

  1. 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. The purpose is to understand how university educators conceive of, make sense of, and make use of OEP in their teaching, and to try to learn more about, and from, the practices and values of educators from across a broad continuum of ‘closed’ to open practices OEP = ethos of sharing & transparency = practices which include the creation, use & reuse of OER; open learning; open/public pedagogies; open scholarship; open access publishing; and use of open technologies. OEP = inclusive of but more than open content: learners & teachers share the processes of knowledge creation, i.e. broadest interpretation of open education This is not a study of the practices of OPEN educators/researcher, there are relatively few of these! This is a study of the practices of a broad range of educators – what factors contribute to educators choosing open practices.
  2. Image that I have used for a couple of years to illustrate this…if ALL our teaching occurs in 1st 2 spaces, then we lose the opportunity to engage with students in openly networked spaces. This is not simply a matter of ”going where students are”, i.e. let’s teach on Facebook. Much more fundamental. It’s about recognising the ubiquity of knowledge & networks– but also the imperative to facilitate not only LEARNING but empowerment, civic participation and capacity building. IDENTITY: >> Ascribed, role – institutional structures >> Chosen, created – networked culture
  3. Sociocultural perspective rejects the notion that practices are deterministic -- holds that learners, teachers & researchers have the agency to accept or reject any particular technology or practice or to find alternative uses for it that will better serve their needs. Veletsianos (2015) Sociocultural perspective considers mind to be located in the individual-in-social-action… Reflecting interactions between diverse social & cultural factors & individuals  shows how human cognition develops.
  4. Exploring the digital & pedagogical strategies of a diverse group of university educators, focusing on whether, why and how they use OEP for teaching. …a study not just of open educators, but of a broad cross-section of educators at one university. PURPOSE: to understand how university educators conceive of, make sense of, and make use of OEP in their teaching, and to try to learn more about, and from, the practices and values of educators from across a broad continuum of ‘closed’ to open practices.
  5. Openness is a complex phenomenon… it is Technical, Social, Cultural, Economic 2 ways to think about OPENNESS IN EDUCATION in order to engage in any conversation about openness.
  6. Describe 4 levels… Yellow line is contested! Free is open according to dictionary definition: Freely available or accessible Majority of scholars are not embracing OER… some frustration.
  7. Epistemology: interpretivist / social constructivist - experiences of L+T are affected by prev exp’s of L+T, motivations & personal epistemology Setting: university (like many!) without any policies regarding OER, open practices or open education Participants: ‘academic staff’ defined broadly as staff of the university whose responsibilities include teaching, regardless of job title or terms of employment, i.e. full-time or part-time, permanent, temporary, or no contract
  8. Epistemology: interpretivist / social constructivist Individuals seek to understand their world and develop subjective meanings of their experiences; experiences of learning and teaching are affected by previous experiences of learning and teaching, motivations, and personal epistemology (Cresswell, 2003).
  9.  Individual – Complex – Contextual Some academic staff: fierce attachment to privacy. Open practitioners & researchers can be quite critical of such individuals at times. Experiences of bullying, harassment & stalking – personally or in families. Some perceived risks: (1) surveillance culture; (2) female staff, for example, or those marginalised in other ways – with regard to online shaming & abuse, Openness entails negotiating new forms of risk. Anyone can have a voice/contribute: new kinds of boundaries & status hierarchies. Power enacted in different ways. “If we truly value participatory culture & openness, we must recognize the right of individuals to choose to not participate.” (Jenkins) We need to be sensitive to the needs of others
  10. Persistent anxiety re: use of open practices, at all levels. Usage does not innoculate!!