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Beyond free: A social justice vision for open education

TitleBeyond free: A social justice vision for open education
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsJhangiani, R.
PublisherAssociation of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2019
Date Published04/2019
Place PublishedCleveland, Ohio
Type of WorkKeynote presentation
Keywordshigher education, OER, open educational practices, open pedagogy, open textbooks

The open education movement wants to be a force for equity. The argument is straightforward and powerful: Widen access to educational resources and marginalized students who disproportionately suffer at the hands of the exploitative business models of commercial textbook publishers will disproportionately benefit, in both economic and educational terms. However, as the open education movement has matured, its vision has expanded beyond an emphasis on free open educational resources to the freedoms that flow from open educational practices. The contemporary open education movement thus represents an access-oriented commitment to learner-driven education, a force for the democratization of knowledge that challenges neoliberal forces that pit increasingly precarious faculty against increasingly precarious students. However, open is not a panacea and an uncritical approach risks perpetrating harm with the best of intentions. As natural leaders of campus OER initiatives, academic librarians should recognize that adopting digital technologies (even those branded as “inclusive”) solve some access issues while masking and exacerbating others, that accessibility is not a retrofit to access, that open is not the opposite of private, and that not everything could (or even should) be open. This presentation outlines a social justice vision for open education that is both broader and more critical, one that contemplates its true potential while being mindful of its pitfalls.


Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Short TitleACRL 2019
Refereed DesignationRefereed
ACRL 2019 Beyond free.pdf14.06 MB
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