:sync: OER Ontologies: A Dialogue on Decolonizing Digital Knowledges

Authors: Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Jennryn Wetzler, Sneha Pp, Mehtab Kahn, Jane Anderson, Evelin Heidel Maui Hudson, Stephanie Carroll, Mo Nyamweya
Institutions: MHz Foundation, Creative Commons, Centre for Internet & Society, University of California Berkeley, NYU, Local Contexts, University of Waikato, Global Indigenous Data Alliance, OpenGlam, University of Arizona Native Nations Institute, International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Group, Mukurtu, SPARC
Countries: United States, India, Argentina, Pakistan, New Zealand

Topic: Applications of Open Education Practices/Open Pedagogy/Open Education Research
Sector: Lifelong Learning
UNESCO Area of Focus: Inclusive OER
Session Format: Workshop


As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe this spring, people moved even more online. Students and educators--from K-12 to grad school--followed suit. Meanwhile, museums, galleries, libraries, and archives (GLAM) shut their doors and tried to amplify virtual offerings to a public seeking entertainment as well as education, virtually. There is a lot of demand--and a lot of supply--in online educational resources (OER), even as informal learners across the world seek knowledge online, outside of expensive formal curriculum. What OER exists, what is needed, and what will build for a better future?

These pedagogical questions lead to acute political and social questions regarding the ongoing crises of coloniality, indigenous erasure, and systemic anti-Black racism across sectors–from academia to GLAM, the internet to intellectual property. These questions also come at a time when national governments begin to implement the 2019 UNESCO OER Recommendation.

This workshop will gather thought-leaders in various aspects of OER equity: decolonial digital curation, indigenous data sovereignty, decolonizing intellectual property, open pedagogy, and open GLAM. With the audience, we will address considerations for these dynamic, burgeoning realms from the perspectives of and commitments to social justice, antiracism, indigenous and African diaspora data sovereignty and ethics. We’ll ask questions such as: Where and how are diverse, decolonial open educational resources being co-created and co-curated? What alliances, technological platforms, intellectual property shifts, and new educational models are needed to support diverse OER that counters a Global North>Global South pipeline epistemology and that dismantles colonial/white appropriations of cultural knowledge? Who gets to ‘open’ or ‘free’ traditional knowledges, and how and for whom?

In particular, this workshop will gather, introduce, and collectively assess examples of OER, to reflect on power inequities within Open Knowledge efforts. After panelists’ introductions to key aspects of the questions above, panelists and audience members will break out into groups to reflect upon key examples of critical, anti-colonial OER as well as the epistemological and intellectual property transformations needed to curtail cultural appropriation. How can OER be supported that emerges from and nourishes multiple worldviews? The workshop will culminate with collective brainstorm to add 3-4 additional considerations governments can apply when implementing the UNESCO Recommendations #3 and #5:

  1. Effective, inclusive and equitable access to quality OER: supporting the adoption of strategies and programmes including through relevant technology solutions that ensure OER in any medium are shared in open formats and standards to maximize equitable access, co-creation, curation, and searchability, including for those from vulnerable groups and persons with disabilities

  2. Fostering and facilitating international cooperation:supporting international cooperation between stakeholders to minimize unnecessary duplication in OER development investments and to develop a global pool of culturally diverse, locally relevant, gender-sensitive, accessible, educational materials in multiple languages and formats


Intellectual Property Regimes, Decoloniality, Critical Pedagogy

Hello Garrett, Jennryn, Sneha, Evelin, Mehtab, Anuradha, Jane, Maui, Stephanie, Kim, & Mo,

I’ll be your facilitator for your workshop.

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