Open Education as Disruption: Lessons for Open and Distance Learning from Open Educational Practice

Ronald Macintyre
The Open University in Scotland, United Kingdom


This paper suggests the focus on access within discourses on openness might be distracting us from less apparent but still important lessons we can learn from OEP. Opening up through partnership provides access to neglected learners, and ODL providers have employed this model to reach those distanced from education. However, it also offers the possibility (as yet generally unrealised) of developing new content and approaches. Curriculum which, rather than reshaping the learner to perform acceptable WP (“Working Class”) identity explores how openness and partnership might develop context relevant curriculum. Opening up the academy to new voices and new approaches. However, this is likely to be a significant challenge for ODL providers. The tacit Fordist production routines potential to limit the ability to meet partners needs are only one aspect. As political support for participation wanes partnerships with organisations that share ODL's social values could allow organisations to create content that matches context in cost effective ways. However, care needs to be taken lest the temptation to further centralise control within ODL providers as a response to reduced financial and political support for organisational values of social justice at providers like the OU may leave these opportunities unrealised.

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