Question #4: How do you see your role in the future of open education?
I truly believe in equity for all. I just did a presentation at San Diego Community College district-wide and the title of my presentation was “We Were Equitable, When Equitable Wasn’t Cool.” I always tell my OER colleagues and friends that equity is a buzzword for people outside of our community but equity is not a buzzword for us. I want to say that equity is not a buzzword for myself. I would like to be the voice and face for Open Education for minorities especially African-Americans and here’s my reason; currently we have the scenario of OER being introduced to our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by white Americans who tell them how great this book is and that it’s free.
From history there has not been positive relationships between white Americans when they come in contact with any minority groups (population transfer, genocide, segregation, etc.). So, this is why I believe that you need someone of color to speak to another group or an institution of color so they can have a similarity or something in common with them. I would like to be the one to let our HBCUs know that there is no underlining secret, that this is really a legitimate foundation, and that it will help our students to become a more productive member of our society. That OER will also eliminate costs for them pertaining to education and, in the long run, create fairness and equity among those that are trying to continue to receive an education. I would like for them to know that the NAACP has endorsed OER. We need to get that word out to our HBCUs.
How do we do that? Well, either we’re going to start knocking on these doors or we’re going to literally start with a list just as I did for the Houston Area OER Consortium. I’m going to get a list of my HBCUs and I’m going to start calling them and introducing myself. I will tell them who I am and what my mission is and this is what we can do for our students. I’m hoping that eventually the OER community will understand my plight and want to join in since we’re all on the same page. It doesn’t have to just be me but I want us to understand exactly why our HBCUs and other minority institutions are not embracing Open Education the way that they should. That is how I see myself in the future in reference to Open Educational Resources.