Open the Door

In January this year, I have had the great pleasure to interview Dr. Carol Williams, an established scholar at the Women & Gender Studies Department and the Department of History at the University of Lethbridge, who in that conversation shared with me how she approaches open pedagogy and what materials she assembles for her courses.

The first door we kicked ajar that day allowed an insightful view at Carol’s skilled navigation through the vast pool of openly available learning resources. Building on the academic accomplishments and valuable experiences gained throughout the 40 years of her teaching and researching career, she’s mastered websearching for content which she then smoothly bunches up afterwards, in ways that fit her courses exactly, so that they are thematically organized, aligned to teaching within an authentic academic context and free of hidden material costs to students.

The second door disclosed how valuable Carol finds student contributions to the academic knowledge in her field. The examples she provided include  three names of her students, who published their original research to a peer reviewed Canadian-based website that is scholarly in all regards: it has a consistent editorial policy, and essays include footnotes and hyperlinked quotations, which lead the reader to all the relevant sources. If somebody quotes a piece of legislation, for instance, the article is linked to that legislation. To Carol, this website represents a modern digital textbook, one that digital in nature, is functional to do much more than their traditional print counterparts ever will be able to in terms of authenticity in topics, immediacy of publication and innovation in user-friendliness.

I thank Carol sincerely for the opportunity to learn from a champion in Open Education, and I hope you enjoy reading more about her explicit expertise here too (you’ll be connected to the article publication on OER Commons that includes all the active links to the low/ no cost resources mentioned in the interview).