Open Educational Practices

Open Educational Practices“Open Educational Practices” by oeps.scotland is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Topic 2 of ONL introduced a bunch of acronyms: OEP, OER, PLE, PLN. These acronyms are linked by the topics we had to consider: open education and sharing. Here are some definitions of these acronyms:

OEP, open educational practices, are concerned with promoting and supporting equity and openness in education.
OER, open educational resources, are openly licenced content which can be retained, reused, revised, remixed and redistributed.
PLE, personal learning environment, Kay Oddone defines as “the pattern of connections between tools, people and the online (and sometimes offline) environments within which these exist.” PLE or PLN or LMS or OLN? Written by KayO February 17, 2016. 
PLN, personal/professional learning network, in the same blog post is defined by Kay as “the ‘nodes’ within the network … usually people – ‘knowledge holders’ – who in turn connect you to other learners. The nodes may not always be people; sometimes they are a repository of information, such as a book, or a website, or a curated list; but somewhere, behind this, generally still remains a person or group of people.”

In his plenary at the Open SUNY Summit in March 2018, Jesse Stommel said:
“In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks writes, “for me this place of radical openness is a margin—a profound edge. Locating oneself there is difficult yet necessary. It is not a ‘safe’ place. One is always at risk. One needs a community of resistance.” For hooks, the risks we take are personal, professional, political. When she says that “radical openness is a margin,” she suggests it is a place of uncertainty, a place of friction, a place of critical thinking.”

The themes of  accessibility, sharing, transparency and interoperability that Kay and Alistair used in the webinar to characterise open education move the focus of education from content delivery towards community and dialogue and closer to the ‘place of uncertainty, friction and critical thinking.’ 

Sean Michael Morris, in“The Course as Container” wrote that “the walls of the course circumscribe subject matter, project timelines, written work, and assessment. The quarter, the semester, the course dictate almost everything we understand about education. We equate learning with compartments of learning, rather than with a lingering process that shifts and moves invisibly between the accomplishment of one learning objective and another.” In other words, education is traditionally equated with transferring content from teacher to learners and then grading the learners’ regurgitation of that content. Open education flips that idea and creates an opportunity to engage students not just as containers to be filled with content, but as contributors to their own learning and knowledge. 

How open am I?

Until ONL192, I had considered myself relatively open, I knew how to find and use openly licensed resources in my teaching and acknowledged my use of their their work. But I was teaching in a closed space. The resources I used were hidden in a learning management system that required a login to access and my courses were a series of tasks. I missed the opportunity to engage my learners as contributors to their own learning and knowledge. Whilst I still plan to use OERs, I will now employ them as pathways for learners to make their own connections, develop the discussion, innovate, participate as full agents, and learn more than when I taught didactically. My courses will still reside on a closed LMS, as required by my institution, but I will treat it as “a secure core on to which you can then attach other tools and arenas for the discussions and collaboration that takes place in the public space.” Alastair Creelman commenting on Kay Oddone’s blog. Who knows, I may even become a ‘node on the network’?

Open Learning – Sharing and Openness