Open Educational Practice As an Enabler for Virtual Universities

Bossu, C. and Ellis, D. (2023). Open Educational Practice As an Enabler for Virtual Universities. In: Sankey, M. D.; Huijser, H. and Fitzgerald, R. eds. Technology-Enhanced Learning and the Virtual University. University Development and Administration. Singapore: Springer.



This chapter explores a number of initiatives and research on open educational practices (OEP) to demonstrate their central role as enablers and catalysts for innovation and change in higher education, including for virtual universities. Key enablers such as open pedagogy, capacity building, policy development, and social justice and inclusion are covered. The chapter then makes recommendations for OEP implementation in the virtual university context and ends with some concluding thoughts. Key recommendations are predicated on both top-down and bottom-up approaches, along with engagement from not only educators but also learners, the need to adopt a wider view beyond western-centric and English language dominance in OEP, and the importance of encouraging active participation from those in the global south as well as the global north. Ultimately, OEP and the open educational resources (OER) movement, more generally, represent core enablers for virtual universities. However, their potential and affordances cannot be more fully realized unless a holistic and multidirectional approach is adopted across all levels – institutional, national, and international. If carefully and thoughtfully harnessed and implemented, the promise of OEP for virtual universities is substantial. In this manner, higher education can then be more accessible to more people in more places and contexts.

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