OER18 Breaking open

OER18 Breaking open

April 18, 2018 0 By JR

Coconut Hammer, by Eframestochter, CC0

Full title – Breaking open: conversations about ethics, epistemology, equity and power

With a session title like that, and knowing Maha Bali was one of the presenters I knew we were in for a session that was going to challenge us. We were directed to their site and to consider a key question through the lens of a provided provocation (I think there were three in total).

[su_quote cite=”“How do we use openness to exclude, overpower and/or oppress marginalized individuals, communities, knowledge systems?”” url=”https://wnyc.typeform.com/to/CWAeSB”][/su_quote]

Much of the conversation seemed to revolve around who gets to participate which is a critique I’m starting to hear more an more as Open Ed gains momentum. Particularly the Global South tends to be left out of many of the conversations and opportunities, and that Western/English centered OER are exported abroad. One of the facilitators mentioned that the local context is missing from many (if not all) of the resources her institution uses, but also that those using OER tend to have this view that if OERs come from high profile Western Institutions <cough> MIT </cough> that those are somehow inherently superior. So in a way, although the resources can be adapted and localized, there are other things at play which then continue to quiet the voices of a broader audience and participatory members of the Open Ed Movement. Maha articulates this in a tweet leading up to the session:

One group took the question what could we do to make it (Open Ed) worse quite literally and their list was spectacular. I couldn’t take it down in time, but I hope someone who is reading this caught it and places them in the comments.

At the time, little did we know that this session would foreshadow the next morning’s keynote by David Wiley.