Exploring Open Educational Practice: Week 9 Blog Post

Open educational practices, or OEP, is a creative, innovative way of approaching instructional practice in which students engage in authentic, participatory learning.  According to, ‘7 Things you should know about… Open Education: Practices’, it is the “use/reuse/creation of OER [Open Educational Resources] and collaborative, pedagogical practices employing social and participatory technologies for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and sharing, and empowerment of learners”, (2018).  The goal of OEP is to broaden learning from a focus on access to knowledge, to a focus on access to knowledge creation.

A major benefit of OEP is the engagement of the learner in a learner-centered environment, and provision of authentic learning experiences.  The level of engagement will positively affect the level of learning.  Learning becomes transparent and obvious to both the learner and the teacher.

Spectrum of Open Education Practices (2018)

With increasing access to information through OER, learners have more control over their learning.  Dr. Roberts stated that OEP utilizes previously untapped resources related to informal learning.  With various technologically creative applications such as TikTok or Twitter, students have control over what they learn as well as influencing learning in others, such as through contributions to Wikipedia.  The direct result of OEP is the opportunity to share learning, to network with like-minded individuals worldwide.

According to Wikipedia, there are challenges to OEP such as lack of adequate access to technology and/or internet.  After an ECI831 class ‘breakout room’ discussion last evening, frustrations were identified in the school systems such as limited student access to ‘chromebooks’, limitations on what programs or applications were allowed in the school systems or on devices (Eg. Minecraft on Chromebooks), and super slow internet speeds which meant long waits for programs to even ‘load up’.  There is a definite lack of technological training and support within both the primary and secondary school systems.  Even if a wonderful new program is released, teachers need to receive adequate time for training as well as IT support.

The OEP model may not be suitable for all ages of students.  Another issue that was voiced in our class group discussion, related to the primary school system, was lack of age-appropriate internet resources, especially for the younger students, such as in grade one.  Additionally, teachers are not given adequate prep time to find appropriate resources.

I have experienced this lack of technological resources at Saskpolytech.  I helped to develop an interactive open access nursing computer game, however in order to work on it, I had to bring my personal laptop to the office because no computers at school were advanced enough to run the program!  It was very frustrating! 

Thankfully, a current requirement of the Practical Nursing program is that students must own a, ‘personal electronic device’ such as a laptop, because all of our exams are now written using an online exam software program, Examsoft.  Once we finished work on the computer game, most nursing students could ‘play’ the program using their own devices.

Another challenge to instituting OEP may be the required structured format of learning within many educational institutions. For example, in order to pass a Practical Nursing class (Post-secondary) or departmental exam (high school), specific pre-requisite learning goals must be met, and certain knowledge must be acquired.  Unstructured forms of learning through OEP may not be suitable for every type of course. 

I believe that OEP have a place in the pedagogy of learning, however, it is not something that can be rushed, or forced to occur.  Both learners and teachers have to be open to the experience.  More research has to be done; technological resources and support for teachers to learn how to implement OEP have to be provided by the school systems in order to make OEP a successful reality.  Resources such as the Open Learning Design Intervention (OLDI) framework developed by Dr. Roberts will go a long way to assist teachers in the implementation of OEP.

OEP may be implemented in the future in small degrees, rather than in a whole curriculum. I’m sure teachers already implement many of the attributes of OEP as pictured in the following chart. I think it is more a matter of making student learning transparent and shared, as Dr. Roberts stated, to be defined as OEP.

Image result for open education practice

Eight attributes of Open Pedagogy, by B. Hegarty (2013)

13 thoughts on “Exploring Open Educational Practice: Week 9 Blog Post

  1. I agree with you assessment that OEP cannot in be installed or implemented overnight. Taking the idea or OEP and gradually making small changes to your own educational offering could allow for teachers and students to better adapt to this change in philosophy in the classroom. The work of Dr. Roberts honestly opened my eyes to a way of helping students learn that I had never considered. Your assessment of OEP, its advantages and its challenges is sop on. Thanks for your thoughts. This post really got my mind going.

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    1. I also thought that Dr. Robert’s presentation was quite thought-provoking. What came to my mind was that OEP can open doors to learning for those students who learn in different ways, or simply need a little motivation. What better motivation to learn than having the opportunity to create a TikTok video or tweet to showcase their learning?!

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  2. Melinda

    Hi Lori,

    I agree with you 100%. As Daniel mentioned it, implementing OEP is definitely not going to happen overnight. First of all the teachers need to become familiar and comfortable with the concept. The drawbacks you mentioned unfortunately all exist, I would also add the lack of time. I feel that classroom teachers have an easier time juggling with their time to make things happen, but when the time is limited to half an hour or one hour sessions, it is hard to figure out where to start.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts,
    Melinda 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Melinda! Implementing OEP in small measures would seem to be the most realistic method. I agree with you that lack of time would be a huge barrier to implementation of OEP, especially when there are so many factors involved.

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  3. I really appreciated reading through your analysis of Open Education and its resources. I agree with you that there isn’t as much out there for primary educators. I feel that we as educators need to tap into each other more often for resources through regular collaboration, team teaching, co-teaching as well as simply observing our colleagues teach from time to time, especially between different grade levels. There are many terrific resources and experts within our own buildings that we often overlook or don’t the opportunity to connect with due to our schedules and demands of the job. I think a combination of OER’s and working with colleagues within our own schools/divisions can add to every teacher’s teaching practices. I know I’ve learned so much from the primary teachers that I’ve worked with and I regularly implement these things when working with middle years students.

    Thanks for your thought-provoking post!

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    1. You make some really great points! I completely agree that collaboration among educators would go a long way to enhance teaching practices! It seems that whenever there is an opportunity for networking, it is usually during a conference already filled with workshops or meetings. I also agree that being able to simply watch a colleague teach is a fantastic way to pick-up pointers! Thanks for your comments!

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