OER20 Practical perspectives on building sustainable and caring open education practices in culturally aware and inclusive ways

The OER20 conference has been moved online due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The conference themes of my reflective practice presentation ‘Practical perspectives on building sustainable and caring open education practices in culturally aware and inclusive ways’ [0-089] on 2 April 2020 at 11am are:

  • Theme 2: Sustainable open education communities
  • Theme 5: Caring pedagogies and designing for diverse communities of inclusion
  • Open Educational Practice

My presentation is pre-recorded (sorry, with a slightly croaky voice). The slides, without audio, can be found at the link below:

OER20 Anna Page – Practical perspectives on building sustainable and caring open education practices in culturally aware and inclusive ways [0-089]

The transcript can be downloaded:

Script for OER20 conference presentation [0-089] – Anna Page

Please ask questions by commenting on this blog post, on the session on the OER20 website or via Twitter using hashtags #OER20 and #089 in your message so I can find your question and respond.

I am interested to know if you have taught with the assistance of an interpreter to translate dialogue between tutor and learners, or if you are student being taught in a language which is not your first language. I have a pair of short online surveys which will inform the scenarios in my educational colonialism videos, OERs I am creating as part of my open education project research:

Working with interpreters (translators) for teaching and learning

Learning with the help of interpreters (translators)


The ambitious UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (UNESCOa, n.d.) offer a challenge to educators for finding ways to develop caring, inclusive and sustainable educational practices to improve equity and better support for diversity in different cultural settings.

While Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) could help realise these goals (Lane, 2017; Perryman & de los Arcos, 2016), the challenge for OER projects is to adopt practices which acknowledge and take account of the inclusion paradoxes in open education. For example some OEP unintentionally excludes because OER and MOOCs are hosted on Global North developed platforms with the assumption that “technology provides an unproblematic solution to educational demands” (Adam, 2019) or insufficient guidance on participation and learner behaviour is given to bridge cultural deference to Global North knowledge, leading to “dependency and inequality” (Trotter & Hodgkinson-Williams, 2018). Done thoughtfully, with feedback and evaluation practices built in, OEP can help develop and improve critical thinking and digital literacy skills in supportive, culturally aware ways, assisting Global South participants to find their collaborative, online voices demonstrating that “I too had something to contribute” (Rye & Stokken, 2012).

This presentation will focus on the evolving practices tried and adopted by a specific international development project, Transformation by Innovation in Distance Education (TIDE), as a case study. It will explain the hands-on OER building sessions using Moodle tools at one face-to-face Yangon Residential School in November 2019, including technical and language issues, and participant attitudes and behaviours encountered (deference, willingness to try, demonstrating their own progress and peer support). It will describe approaches and techniques used such as involving interpreters to successfully address problems. The presentation will investigate the extent to which caring and inclusion is explored and adapted by and for TIDE participants in light of ongoing evaluation feedback, with the aim of helping to build sustainable open education communities in Myanmar beyond the lifespan of the project.

Adam, T. (2019) Digital neocolonialism and massive open online courses (MOOCs): colonial pasts and neoliberal futures Learning, Media and Technology Volume 44, 2019 – Issue 3: Global Technologies, Local Practices

Lane, A. (2017) ‘Open Education and the Sustainable Development Goals: Making Change Happen [1464]’, Paper presented at the OER17 conference ‘The Politics of Open’, 5-6 April 2017, London, UK. Available at https://oer17.oerconf.org/sessions/open-education-and-the-sustainable-development-goals-making-change-happen-1464/#gref (Accessed 13 November 2019)

Perryman, L-A. & de los Arcos, B. (2016). Women’s empowerment through openness: OER, OEP and the Sustainable Development Goals. Open Praxis, 8(2) pp. 163–180. Available at https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/289/206 (Accessed 13 November 2019)

Rye, S. A. and Stokken, A. M. (2012) ‘The Implications of the Local Context in Global Online Education’, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Athabasca University, 13(1), pp. 191–206. doi: 10.19173/irrodl.v13i1.1010.

Trotter, H. & Hodgkinson-Williams, C. (2018) ‘Degrees of Social Inclusion’, Presentation at the OEGlobal 2018 conference, 24 April 2018, Delft, The Netherlands. Available at https://www.slideshare.net/ROER4D/oe-global-presentation (Accessed 13 November 2019)

UNESCOa (n.d.) Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [online]. Available at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld (Accessed 12 November 2019)