:async: Toward Open Pragmatism: Developing a Revised Framework for Openness

Authors: Erik Christiansen, Michael McNally
Institutions: Mount Royal University, University of Alberta
Country: Canada

Topic: Applications of Open Education Practices/Open Pedagogy/Open Education Research
Sector: Higher Education
UNESCO Area of Focus: Building capacity
Session Format: Presentation

Abstract

Although open licensing is a necessary component of open educational resources, the overall openness of a resource is determined by several factors beyond licensing. This paper examines the applicability of the “Open Enough” framework (McNally & Christiansen, 2019) for examining the openness of existing Open CourseWare (OCW). This previously published conceptual framework proposed eight factors that educators should consider when creating a new, or adopting an existing, open course. These factors include Copyright/Open Licensing Frameworks, Accessibility/Usability Formatting, Language, Support Costs, Assessment, Digital Distribution, File Format, and Cultural Considerations. In this study, the researchers aimed to answer the following three research questions. 1. Are these factors robust enough to analyze (or measure) the level of openness in existing OCW? 2. Are additional, or modified, factors necessary? 3. Are certain factors impractical for assessment? For this analysis, the researchers randomly selected five recent open courses from two prominent OCW databases - TU Delft and MIT OpenCourseWare. The researchers came to two broad conclusions following a thorough analysis of the OCW sample. Overall, the framework was an effective tool for analyzing open courseware, though cultural considerations and usability proved to be too subjective and were removed from the framework. The study revealed the level of openness among the sampled courses to be highly inconsistent. Some factors, assessment, for example, were consistently open across the sample while language, material costs and file format often quite closed. The consistent lack of editable materials was particularly surprising and led the researchers to draw some conclusions about what openness should mean for Open CourseWare. The researchers used the data to revise their existing conceptual framework into a more actionable guideline for open educators.

Keywords

OpenCourseWare, open educational resources, open educational practices, course design

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Great review of the literature and the journey to develop a framework that can be use by OER leaders and practitioners.