Question #5: What do you think is the biggest benefit of Open Education and what do you think is missing?
I would like OER and Open Educational practices to play a role in transforming systems. I don’t think that OER or Open Education in and of itself can do that without other work around educator development and collaboration or financial practices and other policy work. All of that would need to be coordinated. But I do think that Open Education can play a role in system transformation, particularly when it opens up the space for communities to have a voice in shaping what’s happening.
In a more focused way, I think about also the role that Open Education plays in giving educators and learners agency in their learning. There are the technical aspects of Open Licensing which are a piece of it, but when I think about Open Practice, it’s really about inviting more voices, listening to multiple perspectives, and really making space, ideally, for learners, who have been marginalized, to have a voice in defining and leading in their learning. I see Open Education as being able to play more of a role in that. Not that it’s happening as much as I would like but I do think that’s possible.
Then in terms of what’s missing, I really think there’s a lot more that can be done around racial equity and Open Education. Some aspects of the OER field have been silent on this issue, or perhaps assuming that designing OER for the mainstream will work for every learner, if materials can be adapted. This is not at all inclusive, if “mainstream” implies white communities. One thing that I think needs to change is being more intentional about designing with and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color from the very beginning. I’m hopeful and I think there’s energy and interest around this. I’m hoping that this change is possible, but I’m doing more than just hoping. I’m going to work on this actively.