Instructional Designers and Open Education Practices

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Instructional support professionals such as instructional designers and educational technologists often work on the front line of implementation of open educational practices (OEP). They are therefore in a position to influence awareness and adoption of OEP in course and program development. In this capacity, they function as change agents within their institutions, and thereby also face barriers and practical challenges on multiple fronts. Our goal in this research was to examine what about OEP these professionals most value, their current practices, and what factors may enable or inhibit them in their roles and their ability to have an influence on change within their institutions. Against the background of emerging open educational practices, a survey and interviews were conducted with instructional design professionals to establish, from their experience and practice, their roles and potential for advocacy for open educational practices (OEP) including open educational resources (OER).

In this session, we will share some of the most salient results and hope to generate discussion about strategies for effectively advocating for and implementing OEP in our institutions while also maintaining a critical stance. How can we best support our design professionals in their roles and support the work that they can potentially do to transform practice? What are the perceived barriers and enablers to making change and how can those inform strategic initiatives? These questions become increasingly relevant, particularly in the current situation where the urgency to pivot to online/remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis eventually shifts to more stable and embedded processes.



Dr. Michelle Harrison is a Senior Instructional Designer and Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University—Open Learning, current Co-Chair of the Learning Design and Innovations Department, and also teaches graduate online courses for TRU and Royal Roads University. Her research interests lie in learning design, science education, open educational practices, and designing learning spaces with emerging educational technologies. She has a PhD in e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning from Lancaster University in the UK, where she focused on exploring how we perceive and use space in networked learning environments.

Dr. Irwin DeVries teaches and develops online courses in higher education at the graduate level and is currently Associate Faculty with the School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads University and Adjunct Faculty with Thompson Rivers University, School of Education. His work and research focus on open educational practices and teaching and learning with technology in open education environments. Most recently he was director of curriculum development and interim associate vice-president of Open Learning at Thompson Rivers University. He holds a PhD in Education from Simon Fraser University, where he researched open course design and development processes.


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