Emerging Open Educational Practices in the Pacific: Are we prepared?

I was motivated to write  this post after reading the Journal of Open Flexible and Distance learning, article by Michael Paskevicius on ”Conceptual Open Educational Practices through the Lens of Constructive Alignment”, as a reflection of my thoughts on these magnificent developments in global Education. I have not  tried to totally dissect the article as I am familiar with OER and it will also be a laborious and demanding activity. But emerging concepts and best practices that has latched onto my curiosity in Constructive Alignment and developments in Open Educational Practices, about its relevance to the Pacific, best practices and contexualised application. The grouping together of different minds to a common ground of intellectual brilliance.

Open Educational Resources (OER) now, more than before, is an area of continuous discourse and concern when focusing on quality, affordable and accessible educational content development within the Pacific Region. At national level, it is gathering momentum, with discussions around developing National Policies on OER. What I can confidently state for now is that OER is not yet fully grounded within the region as we are still trying to encourage leadership to mainstream OER as part of National Framework, Policy and Best Practices, at all levels of education. Last year, 2016, Fiji passed the regions first National Policy on OER, this year (2017) has seen  the Regional Consultation on OER held in Auckland New Zealand outcome to be tabled in Europe at the Global OER Conference in September, USP has progressed into developing the first Institutional Policy in OER in the Pacific and the circulation of a Pacific Region OER Strategic Paper through PACFOLD is evidence that the Pacific is beginning to pay attention, shifting from dialogue to action.

Before the emergence of OER in the Pacific has even begun to settle, our attention is once again brought to the fore on the emerging concept in the Pacific that is tagged to OER as a relative outcome, Open Educational Practices (OEP). As a believer, advocate and practitioner of OER in the Pacific, I had an inkling that the inevitable emergence of OEP was going to occur as an essential shift that will be recognised as the practical component of OER in the Pacific, because of relevance and best practices. Today OEP has mustered the same level of interest or more, as OER. I would like to address this emergence in the following. I will be brief about my opinions on OEP in the form of best practices as discussed in Wiley’s 5 R’s Model  and its high impact for course design.

Before I move on any further, I would like to make reference to important designs that, in my opinion, are  contributors for sustainability in OER.

First, Biggs (1996) Model of Constructive Alignment in Curriculum Design. Michael Paskevicius article in the JOFDL on “Conceptual Open Educational Practices through the Lens of Constructive Alignment” (2017), is brilliantly written in putting forth a case that discusses instructional design in OEP.

Second, Wiley’s 5 R’s model of Openness. In my opinion, David Wiley’s model is an answer to one of the many questions about affordability and equal accessibility for learners. David Wiley also discusses the 5 R’s as the 5 R Open Course Design Framework (  https://www.slideshare.net/opencontent/5r-open-course-design-framework-fall-2015-version, 2017).

The Constructive Alignment in Curriculum Design focuses basically on the key areas of the curriculum –

  1. intended learning outcomes
  2. student learning activities
  3. assessment

(http://www.ucdoer.ie/index.php/Using_Biggs’_Model_of_Constructive_Alignment_in_Curriculum_Design/Introduction, 2017)

Read more about the Model please click on the link provided above.

David Wiley’s 5R Open Course Design Framework, discusses a simple Model of backward design which also 3 key areas as well –

  1. Objectives
  2. Assessment
  3. Activities


Read more about this please click on the link above and got to slide 24.

Simple observation brings one to the conclusion that Biggs and Wiley’s model share commonality in that they use a reverse approach in design, beginning with outcomes/objective, assessment and activities. Constructional alignment has a fourth as learning resources, referring to this relevant instructional concept.

If you consider the open concept with both models, you will discover that each model contributes to course/curriculum design and instructional design in their respective structure. The 5R model design of course  already is an Open concept. Constructive alignment on the other hand, does have open aspects integrated within the model. Constructive alignment designer, John Biggs, mentions his purpose of having a different perspective to the approach of student learning because his belief that students must reflect their interpretation and understanding of learning. Constructive alignment is designed to be an open approach response evident through assessment which was originally not through an examination but a student Portfolio. This provides a platform for a more student or peer based assessment.

T the end of the day, we continue try to discover solutions to challenges in accessing and providing quality and affordable education in the Pacific that is equitable, enabling and engaging.

There is the need to find common ground where a single entry point will allow us to access information that will guide each country into developing their National Policies on OER or collaboratively we can establish a federation of Pacific OER.



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