The theme of the OER15 conference is Mainstreaming Open Education
“. . . the aim being to explore approaches that are moving OER (& OEP) into the mainstream, and also barriers that need to be addressed for that to happen.” http://blog.edtechie.net/oer15/oer15-is-go/
As part of my keynote I want to explore and share my experiences with mainstreaming open education and OERs. I think part of the reason I “got the gig” was down to a couple of posts where I questioned some of the assumptions about open and actual (mainstream) practice.
Whilst I love the simplicity of the slogan “the opposite of open is broken” in reality it is a bit more complicated than that. We are still a way away from an open by default approach in my institution and I suspect many others. There is a cost to open, and many of us don’t have access to external or internal funds to kickstart and maintain open approaches.
So, this post is an attempt to do a bit of crowdsourcing and feedback before the conference on OER and open educational practice in mainstream education.
Here at GCU we have OER guidelines (which hopefully will be actual policy one day soon), that’s still not that common so can I count that as mainstream? In terms of practice it’s difficult to measure what impact they are having. Guidelines alone does not a mainstream culture of OER creating and sharing make. Sharing, even within our walled gardens is still not on the radar of many of my colleagues. Personally they are really useful for me and my team as we have somewhere to point people to in terms of creating and releasing OERs. So maybe just having that simple workflow is actually a mainstream practice- or at least the beginnings of one. The guidelines have been driven by Marion Kelt in our library so are very much a bottom up approach, which in many instances is how policy should develop. I have a noticed a change in the past year in that I hear “openness” and OERs being talked about much more regularly now by staff at all levels.
In my own practice, I do self-identify as being an open practitioner. I try and share as much as I can, mainly via this blog and also now via our team blog. Wherever possible I take try to take an open approach. To take Martin Weller’s guerrilla research analogy , I quite often take a guerrilla approach to educational development. I use as many open (and often just open as in free) resources, software, platforms as I can. I encourage my colleagues to do the same – sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. GCU Games On, The open event we ran last year was only possible due to the fact we could engage with and use a number of open resources. This case study I wrote for the OEPS project explains our approach in more detail.
I’m not sure if that approach is mainstreaming or more like pic’n’mixing. But in the mainstream you have to be very pragmatic and work with what you’ve got, not wait for what you’d like to work with. Doing a little openly is better than doing nothing openly, right?
So, how/do you you do it? Do you have examples of mainstream and by that I mean I mean regular, everyday, use and/or creation of OERs by the majority of teaching staff in your institution? How do you get and maintain the “open habit”? If you could share anything in the comments I’d be really grateful and I will include them in my talk at the conference.