In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay “The Danger of a Single Story” in the openly licensed anthology 88 Open Essays, Ms. Adichie wrote:
“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. …when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”
In the four years that I’ve been involved with Open Education, I have heard different versions of a single story; faculty and staff will be drawn to Open Education because Open Educational Resources save students money. I myself have totaled spreadsheet columns and built charts to illustrate the dollar amount saved. But Open Education is about more than saving students money. The stories of the women interviewed for OERigin Stories highlight the complexity of the advantages and challenges of the Open Movement. The testimonies of these women illustrate that there is no single story for Open Education, especially when using OER to address long-standing equity, diversity, and inclusion issues in higher education.
Between May 2020 and May 2021, I attended several workshops and presentations focused on addressing the lack of equity, diversity and inclusion in higher education. At each of those sessions, there was a point when someone asked what was the easiest thing they could do to improve equity at their institution. The people asking the question had seen the evidence and wanted to work to change the situation but didn’t know where to begin. Listening is a first step anyone can take. I invite you to read and consider the wisdom and experiences of the women of color in Open Education contained in this document. There’s no single story here and each response illuminates a different experience.