Towards Open Educational Practice

Cannell, Pete and Macintyre, Ronald (2014). Towards Open Educational Practice. In: EADTU Annual Conference: New Technologies and the future of Teaching and Learning, 23-24 Oct 2014, Krakow, Poland.


Significant claims are made for the potential of Open Educational Resources (OER) to widen access to higher education. Most recently, the very large numbers of individuals enrolling on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has dominated discussion in universities and beyond. Advocates such as D’Antoni (2013) have written persuasively of how OER can potentially open up access to education and redefine the boundaries between institutions and society. However, the evidence from the first wave of MOOCs suggests that the participants are primarily individuals with prior experience of higher education. While this indeed widens access, there is no evidence that it is widening participation from those distanced from education (Lane et al, 2014). Indeed there is limited evidence of significant impact on widening participation by OERs (Falconer, 2013).

The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, however, has longer and deeper roots (Lane, 2012: 140), roots that are about more than licensing and has engaged in educational practices that break down barriers to education. This paper explores recent examples from Scotland of partnership-based approaches to the development, design and delivery of OERs. Drawing on this experience and ideas from the academic literature on educational technology, pedagogy and widening participation, we draw some provisional conclusions on an approach that combines key elements from all these fields. In particular we note that openness is not simply a matter of barriers to access related to licenses or technological aspects, but are inherently cultural, social and situational. We conclude that while the OER movements early focus on licenses and technology was useful, widening participation requires a shift in emphasis, a shift that accounts for peoples, places and the practices of open education

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions