We’ve been thinking about the concept of values and OER recently while preparing talks for conferences in Bologna and Cambridge (OCWC), and drafting a chapter for a book on Literacy in the Digital University edited by Robin Goodfellow and Mary Lea. (Robin maintains a lively blog on the topic of digital literacy.)
We’ve been drawing on Bruce Macfarlane’s work on values and academic practice (Teaching with Integrity: the ethics of higher education practice, London: Routledge 2004) and wondered to what extent some of his ideas offer us a lens for thinking about digital literacy and OER. One of our tentative findings, from work we’ve done with new-ish developers of OER materials, is that personal and professional values are being shown to play a role in motivating academics to write and share open texts – for teaching and research.
Masterman and Wild (2011) have found some evidence of an association between an academic holding ‘open educational’ values (such as sharing, benefit of a common good and widening access of opportunity) and being disposed to engage with OER. Interviews we have done with with teacher-creators of OERs tend to support this position, and we’re hoping to widen our study to see if this finding is confirmed with a wider sample.