Open education and critical pedagogy

Farrow, Robert (2017). Open education and critical pedagogy. Learning, Media and Technology, 42 pp. 130–146.



This paper argues for a revaluation of the potential of open education to support more critical forms of pedagogy. Section I examines contemporary discourses around open education, offering a commentary on the perception of openness as both a disruptive force in education, and a potential solution to contemporary challenges. Section II examines the implications of the lack of consensus around what it means to be open, focusing on the example of commercial and proprietary claims to openness commonly known as ‘openwashing’. Section III uses Raymond’s influential essay on open source software ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ as a framework for thinking through these issues, and about alternative power structures in open education. In Section IV an explicit link is drawn between more equal or democratic power structures and the possibility for developing pedagogies which are critical and reflexive, providing examples which show how certain interpretations of openness can raise opportunities to support critical approaches to pedagogy.

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