Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Open Pedagogy and Open Educational Practices [clear filter]
Thursday, November 3

10:45am EDT

Floating in a Sea of Data: Why Higher Ed Needs #SoNAR
Narrative is an everyday social practice with important research implications. Narrative research captures the ways people and organizations make sense of the complex material and social environments in which their lives and experiences unfold.

In a time when big data, analytics, and evidence-based practices dominate educational policy and practice, narrative research offers an important alternative framework from which to approach what it means to know and learn. Narrative research approaches knowledge as always- situated in a given perspective; rather than claiming objectivity, narrative research investigates many given perspectives in depth, framing their intersections.

Social, networked and narrative research practices are not new and have been used traditionally in psychology, sociology, and other academic domains that focus on complex social dimensions that underpin all human functioning.

Narrative researchers help organizational decision-makers sense and respond to trends and zeitgeist changes within the workplace and broader society.

In open education and open pedagogy, narrative research investigates the seemingly universaland all-encompassing discourse of open, examining how some stories are valued over others and the hiding of assumptions and hegemonies at work in the field. Narratives help us to keep the human at the center of our research, embodied beings that are often disembodied by large-scale research now in the spotlight of an evidence/accountability movement in education.

Narratives also reveal cultures and contexts often less visible through positivist methods of analysis. "How individuals recount their histories--what they emphasize and omit, their stance as protagonists or victims, the relationship the story establishes between teller and audience-- all shape what individuals can claim of their own lives. Personal stories are not merely a way of telling someone (or oneself) about one's life; they are the means by which identities may be fashioned." (Rosenwald & Ochberg, 1992b, p. 1).

Emerging discourse research, especially when computational linguistics are involved, assists to provide a nuanced mixed methods approach to understanding a large corpus of text and/or narrative.

This panel will look at narrative as a principle of open pedagogy that challenges the idea of resource as a fixed thing. Using examples from existing courses and R&D projects, we will examine feedback models that take into account the dispositional, resilient, open and emergent aspects of learning. We will address the ways social narrative as an open pedagogy is linked to social narrative as a research method.

There are some emerging challenges facing researchers as we seek to apply narrative insights more openly and consistently to higher education. What do we mean by narrative? Whose narratives are heard and valued? Who is overlooked? When is it most useful to use narrative in research? What quantitative and qualitative relationships exist for narrative research?

These challenges are intensifying as institutions turn to big data projects to understand and reshape learning. Our aim in developing the Social and Narrative Research (SoNAR) network is to address these questions directly and to expand capacity for researchers to collaborate across institutions on developing open and robust narrative models for higher education research.

avatar for Amy Collier

Amy Collier

Associate Provost for Digital Learning, Middlebury
avatar for Professor George Siemens

Professor George Siemens

Associate Director of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute, Athabasca University
George Siemens is an educator and researcher on learning, networks, analytics and visualization, openness, and organizational effectiveness in digital environments. He is the author of Knowing Knowledge, an exploration of how the context and characteristics of knowledge have changed... Read More →
avatar for Bonnie Stewart

Bonnie Stewart

University of Prince Edward Island
Bonnie Stewart is a writer, educator, and researcher fascinated by who we are when we're online. She explores the intersections of knowledge and technologies in her work, taking up networks, institutions and identity in contemporary higher education. Published in Salon.com, The Guardian... Read More →

Thursday November 3, 2016 10:45am - 11:35am EDT
Friday, November 4

10:30am EDT

Reading, Writing & Arithmetic Meet the 5Rs: Opening the Adult Education Classroom with Open Professional Development
Beyond providing no-cost and freely reusable content and resources for instruction, Open Educational Resources (OER) are beginning to shift teaching and learning practice in adult basic education. Historically, the focus on adult basic education has been on literacy and the basic math skills students need to attain a high school credential or its equivalent.

OER help to meet the high demand for quality instruction and increase the capacity of adult educators to teach more rigorous content, particularly in science and math. OER and other resources developed for K-12 and higher education are giving direction for standards implementation in adult education, which provides a connection to college for adult learners. As the use of OER ramps up in the adult basic education community, the future looks promising but it is not without challenges which need to be resolved through training and professional development.

In this presentation, staff from the American Institutes for Research will discuss their lessons learned providing practical training about OER and open educational practices in adult education to address the immediate need to engage the adult education field in the use of OER. Presenters will provide an overview of two open professional development solutions: (1) Teacher OER User Groups and (2) a three month training of trainers program - both funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education with the goal of supporting adult learners with development of 21st century skills to ensure students are college and career-ready. Presenters will also comment on their assessment of the use of these approaches as models for professional development on about how OER can be shared, reused, and adapted. Participants in this session will walk away with a better perspective on the applications for OER in adult basic education and how training can help to create a shift in thinking among adult educators about the value of teaching with OER and the use of technology to do so.


Delphinia Brown

Distance Learning Product Manager, American Institutes for Research

Amanda Duffy

Senior Researcher, American Institutes for Research

Friday November 4, 2016 10:30am - 11:20am EDT

3:15pm EDT

Opening the Dissertation: Exploring the Public Thesis Spectrum
In North American higher education, the doctoral thesis process has long been acknowledged as isolating and private: a vaguely defined series of milestones witnessed and assessed by a small number of faculty (Katz, 1997). Although the close nature of the process can be mutually rewarding for students and faculty mentors, it has also been known to mask highly idiosyncratic pedagogical demands and abuses of power. Even within the same programs at the same institutions, Ph.D. candidates may have very different experiences in terms of their research, writing, and defense processes. Furthermore, the conventional closed door format can make it difficult to assess or alleviate inequalities or to establish terms on which changes might be understood as productive or desirable.

However, the last decade has brought challenges to the closed nature of North American higher education. "Open" practices, in terms of information sharing, transparency, open educational resources, and open scholarship have begun to permeate multiple disciplines and levels of the academic hierarchy. Benefits of open educational practices, including sharing iterative work and building connections and audiences via networked public platforms such as blogs and Twitter, have been articulated and found to be particularly strong among graduate students and early career researchers (Stewart, 2015).

These changes have begun to impact the Ph.D thesis process, if only in an unevenly distributed fashion. For example, in 2014 HASTAC hosted a "Remix the Diss" seminar in which five recently graduated or soon-to-be graduated doctoral students and their advisors led a full room in questioning the conventional models of doctoral research and defense as the "gold standards" of scholarship (Davidson, 2014). While participants used novel formats or media to represent their work, many of these formats had an underlying public or open quality and would not have been feasible in private forums of traditional academe.

This panel presentation illustrates some ways in which the doctoral thesis/dissertation process can be opened so that the research, writing, and defense components might be shared and experienced with a multitude of peer, faculty, and other community voices. The panelists will draw on their own experiences as recent graduate- and faculty-participants in open dissertation processes. They will describe it as a spectrum of expression and practice, pointing to "granular options" along the way and how those points impact the risks, benefits, and experience of the process. Then they will answer questions related to why a student or faculty member might or might not want to engage in an open doctoral experience. Finally, the panelists will reflect on how experiences such as theirs might impact the future of the PhD and the academic community as a whole scholarship.


Davidson, C. (2014, August 24). What is a dissertation? New models, methods, media.

Retrieved from:


Katz, E. (1997). Key players in the dissertation process. New Directions for Higher Education,

99, p. 5-16.

Stewart, B. (2015). Open to influence: What counts as academic influence in scholarly

networked Twitter participation. Learning, Media, and Technology, special issue: Critical

Approaches to Open Education, 40(3), 1-23.

avatar for Bonnie Stewart

Bonnie Stewart

University of Prince Edward Island
Bonnie Stewart is a writer, educator, and researcher fascinated by who we are when we're online. She explores the intersections of knowledge and technologies in her work, taking up networks, institutions and identity in contemporary higher education. Published in Salon.com, The Guardian... Read More →

Friday November 4, 2016 3:15pm - 4:05pm EDT