Question #6: What questions about Open Education are you grappling with?
The perennial one for me is about scaling the work and making it sustainable. I want to say the workload, as well. I’m one person and I can only do so much. I know that’s something that people experience across the board. I’m also in a fortunate position because I have a full-time position, I have institutional support, I have funding – and I feel overworked and like there’s too much to do. I know other people who don’t have all of those things feel it even more or in different ways. But there’s this pressure to do everything. It might be a pressure I put on myself but maybe I feel it from other places or people, too. Especially because we have a full-time position doing this, people might ask, “Why can’t we do X, Y, or Z?” Well, I’m still only one person.
I collaborate with a lot of people and I have been somewhat successful in bringing other people across campus into conversation around OER – there are faculty advocates, instructional designers, the bookstore is a great collaborator around OER efforts. But at the same time, this work is fairly siloed, at least in how I experience it. It is hard to move any level beyond what we’re currently doing. That’s something that I struggle with on the day-to-day.
There sometimes is a sentiment that Open is always better and things should be Open if they are able to be. But I don’t know if I always agree with that. From my own experience, I don’t necessarily want everything that I make to have a Creative Commons license on it. It’ll really depend on what it is and what it’s for. This may be something that people of color or other marginalized communities are more aware of or hesitant around, and I have to credit Monica Brown who talked about this in “Defining the Invisible Labor of OER.” I can compare it to the experience of putting an idea out there or making a suggestion and nobody listens, but then a colleague repeats your suggestion and gets all the credit. I could see that potentially happening. When I put something out there with a CC license on it, I don’t know who’s going to use it in what way. They’re supposed to give attribution but maybe my work could get obscured and it’s that same thing where I wonder, “Am I going to get credit for my hard work or is someone else going to?” Or similarly, something I can relate to is your work being overlooked or taken for granted. I worry about these things being replicated.