Why do OE?

Jeremy Kidwell

Associate Professor in Theological Ethics

University of Birmingham

Reason 1:


How does anyone "out there" find out about our teaching excellence? OE has increased visibility & parallels increase in citation of open research

Reason 2:


How are we integrating cutting-edge pedagogical practice and updating our teaching?

Reason 3:

Teaching Impact

Open teaching leads to increased effectiveness & engagement with learnersl enhanced sense of community for learners and teachers; improved access for all to education & wider dissemination of pedagogical innovation

Reason 4:

Organisational Culture

Open isn't just a "technology" it's a way of life. (more on this later)

Key question here: are you already doing OE?

Big nonsecret: open education is not (just) an exotic counterculture

Examples of the "open" everyday:

  • Attribution: discussing with students where you've gotten teaching materials and methods from
  • Transparency: acknowleding areas where you're still learning, inviting students to take risks and reveal their learning edges
  • Creativity: using examples from everyday life, anecdotes & pop culture

Some other examples:

Level 1.

Taking Good Stuff and Putting it Online for Free:

Level 2.

Open educational design & evaluation

Level 3.

Open organisational culture (esp. around innovation, collaboration, and inclusiveness)

Level 4.

Sector-level reflection on pedagogy and culture

Cf. JISC/HE Academy OER Programme

There's lots more

What is openness?

“to teach is not to transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge” (Freire, 1998, p. 30; cited in Rolfe, 2017)

"a cognitive trait... considered important in relation to divergent thinking and creativity" (Rolfe, 2017, http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3207/4461)

"sharing information candidly and consistently" (https://opensource.com/open-organization/21/3/open-practices-executive-leaders)

Concluding points:

Open research and open education go together

Both of these can mistakenly be reduced to an (albeit positive) cost-benefit analysis, but OE commands a broader full-cloth understanding

This is why, in the EUniWell declaration on Open Education we make explicit reference to the intentions of consortium Universities to an intention to promote open educational practices as well as resources

"Open" can be about "things which can be dowloaded for free somewhere" but there is a much wider vision for the Open Organisation and Open Management, which is far more impactful and transformative.

Industry is WAY ahead of HE on this: for one example read more about the software company Red Hat runs as an organisation with open values.

The upside of these paradigms is that the Open Organisation is also a "Healthy Organisation", with perceptible impacts on staff engagement, wellbeing, performance, and resilience.