Strategic Planning for Open Education

As we are all fully aware, promoting open educational practices at a given institution can be approached in a variety of ways and involve countless activities and stakeholders. It can also seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve been exposed to the myriad strategies applied at institutions across the world to grow and sustain their open education initiatives. There are unique strategies for faculty outreach, securing administrative support, empowering student voice, collaborating within and beyond the institution, providing professional development, establishing measurable goals… well, the list goes on.

Of course, you could just load a wagon up with a bunch of open textbooks and roll on over to the faculty offices and start knocking on doors–and, who knows, that might work–but maybe it’s meaningful to consider your institutional initiative’s unique context and develop a strategic plan.

With this in mind, we are asking you to consider this general question for July’s discussion topic: How can strategic planning be done effectively to support your institution’s specific goals related to open education?

Synchronous Session - Monday, July 18

Join the conversation live 2022-07-18T19:00:00Z with moderator Matthew Bloom
Zoom Registration


  • Vision, Mission, and Goals: This chapter from Mastering Strategic Management (BC Campus, 1st Canadian Ed.) explores these terms from a business perspective. Particularly helpful may be the section on “Pursuing the Vision and Mission through SMART Goals.”
  • Regional Leaders of Open Education (RLOE) Strategic Plan Template: This template, developed by the leadership team of the RLOE group, contains sections for a vision statement, key people, resources, activities, short term goals, long term goals, and evaluation and assessment. Each section is pre-filled with possibilities and guiding instructions.
  • Open Education Strategic Plan Examples: The open education strategic plan drafts produced by RLOE participants between 2021 and 2022 are publicly available on the RLOE website and provide a variety of examples.

Discussion Questions

  • Resources for Strategic Planning: What other resources have you found helpful in your work with open education strategic planning?
  • Crafting a Clear and Balanced Vision: How do we articulate a vision statement that is focused on an institution’s specific context while not being so exclusive that it unnecessarily limits the scope of our work? What terminology should we employ so that our vision statements accurately reflect what we want to do?
  • Considering Your Institution: What goals and values in your institution’s general strategic plan align with those you envision for your open education initiative? How might your open education strategic plan be crafted to go beyond affordability and support other goals like student success and retention, faculty development, or quality of instruction?
  • Lessons Learned: If you’ve dabbled in open education strategic planning, or strategic planning in general, what experiences or advice do you have to share with others who may be embarking on drafting or revising strategic plans?

I’ve been noticing a few mention of “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree. Her idea (from my cursory reading) is “small is all” and we need to prioritize critical connections over critical mass. Small steps are important, especially for those who are burned out and traumatized from the brutalness of the past few years. Been wondering if open strategic planning might also be thinking in this direction.

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Her challenge, in a changing world, is to shift from a culture of strategic planning to one of strategic intentions. And this requires that we take more time to identify the intentions of the group. I’ve tried to express this further in a blog post - valuing bottom up intentions. Very rough. Would appreciate any thoughts.

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Thanks Derek, my heart soars for more “small is all” type thinking. It does mean, though, that the effects and impacts are not as easily measurable or measurable at all as click systems. And i often materializes much later than the “course” experience.

What does a “strategic intention” look like, e.g. an example?

This in your post was the leap out phrase:

What I do want to point out is that content and delivery is a technical function. Digital education is also about the relationships between academics and students. Technology is a means to get there.

but might say it’s more than academic-student relationships but might also want to be student-student and community-student or world-student (to get really idealistic).

This being fresh in my mind from a conversation in a podcast recording session with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, this “Outreach” program from the Geo-sciences department hits many marks for giving students (1) an experience applying their learning to support local schools (2) creating public knowledge that lives longer and does more than an “assignment” (3) is so successful that students in other disciplines sign up for it; and (4) from anecdotes share, it shapes the career trajectories of participating students.

There’s a lot of these of course you find in discussions, posts, articles on open pedagogy, and they always speak to me as being much more than content and licenses.