:sync: Valuing Care in the Open: Creating an Ethics of Care Framework

Authors: Merinda McLure, Caroline Sinkinson
Institution: University of Colorado Boulder
Country: United States

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


Our session addresses. the Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) (area 3): “Encourage inclusive and equitable quality of open education.” We position an ethic and pedagogy of care (for learners, for colleagues) as essential to transforming education through the use of open modalities, and to ensuring that open education is inclusive and equitable.

In her writing on a pedagogy of care, Noddings recognizes that care is a foundational element of education. In her estimation, a pedagogy of care is first and foremost about reciprocal “relationship between the one-caring and the cared-for” (Lu 2018, p. 75). Care for students motivates our work in open education and sustains our commitment to reach for a future “where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all knowledge” (Cape Town Declaration 2007). Yet, we acknowledge Noddings’ warning that caring may become empty if it does not result in caring relationships based on reciprocity (Noddings 2002, pp. 23-4). Thus, we are increasingly concerned about attending to the voices of learners and to their visions of open education, actively acknowledging that “addressing care in both a material and symbolic way means redistributing power, making your organisation more democratic and more sustainable for the years and struggles to come." (ZEMOS98, p. 6).

At the University of Colorado Boulder we engage in advocacy efforts to encourage the appreciation, exploration and integration of open educational resources (OER). With state funding, we provide stipends and grants to support educators in reviewing and adopting OER, host an Open Educator Award, support students’ exploration of OER, and foster an educator community. As we do so, we encounter requests from the institution and funders to demonstrate success and to offer measurement or quantification of impact. We recognize that this can shift our attention from students to an instrumental approach to learning (Motta & Bennett 2018). Noddings writes that caring for learners is not a “diagnostic, measuring the cared-for against some pre-established ideal,” but instead demands a deep listening and reception to what learners express (Noddings 2005).

We will introduce the models, literature, people, and the local context that inspired and informed our work towards a care-based values framework. We will describe our aspirations to evolve the framework over time in relation to developments in our campus community and in the wider landscape. We will invite participants to consider questions that uncover relational and care-based motivations for their work, reflect on how they communicate and enact these motivations locally, and brainstorm concepts and value statements that make visible the intentions that drive us towards open education.


care, value frameworks, ethics

Welcome! We are excited to talk and reflect with you during this session. Our handout includes space for collective notetaking and links to all documents/sites we’ll use during the session. We expect our session to last approximately 45 minutes. We’d love to hear that you’ll be joining us and we look forward to meeting you!

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hello both I’m hoping to join you and really looking forward to this ! Having had a look at your handout (and they are simply gorgeous handouts ! ) I am very excited for your session ! :hugs:

Session is set up! Come on in now…

Fantastic workshop and enjoyed much the resources and thoughtful activities. I snagged a copy of the answergraden activity


Thanks @debbaff for tweeting your visual notes


It was lovely to meet you! Thank you for joining us! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you so much for capturing this, Alan!