Taskeen Adam (University of Cambridge), Maha Bali (American University in Cairo), Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams (University of Cape Town), and Tannis Morgan (BCcampus) have published a guest blog on the OER19 website. In “Can we decolonize OER/Open? #DecolonizeOpen,” Adam, Bali, Hodgkinson-Williams, and Morgan break down how decolonization, diversity, and inclusion, while seemingly in-line with the goals of the open educational resources (OER) movement, are actually much more complicated:
On the one hand, open promises to improve access to education and the well-being of livelihoods through practices that enable the sharing of educational content through (largely) digital means (a decidedly modernist narrative in its universalism and approach to progress). On the other hand, it can unwittingly reproduce many of the existing inequities of the systems it seeks to change. The latter is a thorny issue as the altruistic motivations that appear to drive the open movement in general, and the open practices that underpin open educational resources (OER) in particular, may seem to be above reproach.
As Adam, Bali, Hodgkinson-Williams, and Morgan state, “we need to critically interrogate in whose eyes open education is deemed ‘valuable’; whose knowledge is being foregrounded and whose view of reality is being entrenched” within education as a whole, and how these values manifest in open education. The authors go on to break down what decolonization means, how it can be applied to open education, and illustrate a social justice framework that includes both affirmative “soft-reform” and transformative “radical-reform” actions in regards to OER.
Decolonial thinking, applied to OER, is the subject of a hybrid workshop that the authors will be leading at OER19 on April 11, 2019 (this workshop can be joined virtually, by contacting Maha Bali on Twitter).