bell hooks argues that "To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin."
Critical Instructional Design is a theoretical approach to the design of teaching and learning that grows out of the tenets of Critical Pedagogy as forwarded by educators like Paulo Freire and bell hooks. Assuming that education is a liberatory, discursive act of resistance, and one that now takes place on a landscape of digital technology, Critical Instructional Design seeks methodologies that embrace learner agency, most often in the form of open educational practices and resources.
It also resists traditional approaches to instructional design, born out of technical writing and training lineages, that rigidly define design processes and outcomes. Just as we might expect faculty to move toward a "radically open" approach to teaching (hooks, 1989), instructional designers too must embrace, examine, be affected by openness, and relish the uncertainty openness creates in our work. This uncertainty makes space for emergence in instructional design. Critical instructional design does not accept openness as an uncontested virtue, but rather views openness as an approach to raising questions about our practices and goals, while also questioning what kinds of closures come with openness.
In this presentation, we will consider the ways that instructional design, using the tools of open education and practices that can subvert the dominant modes of digital pedagogy, as well as the dominant modes of openness (and/or the performativity of openness) that, as Bonnie Stewart notes, "reduc[es] the digital to instrumental, task-based impersonality, rather than recognizing it as a human space with all the potential - educative and destructive, both - that that implies." We will resist the call to transform instructional designers into "learning engineers" as we ask: How might instructional designers problematize the closed-ness of educational technologies like the LMS and work with faculty to design with respect and care for learners? How does instructional design make room for passion, need, difference, beauty? How do we anticipate the broad and specific intersectionalities of our learners, and what they bring to the table? And how can open educational resources, an "open" classroom, facilitate these objectives?