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Open Enough? Eight Factors to Consider when Transitioning from Closed to Open Resources and Courses: A Conceptual Framework

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  • There is both a feeling of excitement and hesitation when mentioning open educational resources (OERs) to university educators. The idea of being an “open educator” and using only openly licensed teaching materials sounds noble. Such an approach has the potential to benefit students on multiple fronts. However, making the transition from closed to open resources requires a significant time investment from the instructor and requires specialized knowledge. These skills include an understanding of open licensing/copyright, accessibility standards, language and cultural considerations, anticipated support costs for the resource, digital distribution, file formats, and potential pedagogical implications. Furthermore, there are conflated definitions of “openness” in teaching - some of which do not necessarily rely on OER (Pomerantz, 2016; Pierce, 2016; Hegarty, 2015). The literature on OER is somewhat lacking as it relies heavily on institutional case studies and does not provide much guidance to educators who want to adopt or create OER. This presentation is intended primarily for university educators, although many aspects will resonate with instructional designers and librarians. We will review the literature on OER and openness in education to identify the major challenges educators face when adopting an open approach to teaching. We will also explore the various approaches to openness in education (Nasccimbeni, Fabio and Burgos, & Daniel, 2016; White & Manton, 2011). Second, drawing on the challenges and considerations identified in the literature, we will propose an eight-factor conceptual scale (Authors, 2017) for measuring openness, which will help educators understand what openness looks like for each of the OER factors. We will explore what the implications of “absolute openness” are and how some approaches to openness can negatively impact student learning. Participants will leave this presentation with practical knowledge that will prepare them when transitioning to OER for their teaching. This presentation was given at the 2018 Open Education Global Conference in Delft, Netherlands.

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    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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