Open dialogues: How to practice responsible pedagogy

By emi1989 posted on February 29th, 2016


Arthur Gill Green’s interest in open education practices developed early in his career. Green, currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Geography at UBC and a faculty fellow for BCcampus, started teaching in 2010. Just as he was finishing his first course, he noticed something peculiar: four students stayed after class to take photos of a textbook. When he asked them what they were doing, the students explained they had bought the book together. Every week one of them would get the textbook and the other three would take photos of the assigned reading and read it on their phones.

“That was the canary in the coal mine for me in terms of open education resources and proprietary resources and how they interacted,” he said. “From that point on… I [tried] to identify open education resources for teaching.”

At that time, says Green, it was really hard to find any open textbooks in geography. Only in 2014 did BCcampus create a team to start working on an open geography textbook. “We did a book sprint, which is a week-long locking us into a room and writing together. That was my first experience actually authoring an open textbook, creating a truly open education resource,” he added.

Today the BCcampus open textbook website has about 140 different textbooks for different subjects offered in British Columbia. Since the organization started its Open Textbook Project in 2012, open textbooks are estimated to have saved students between $1.1 and $1.4 million in B.C. alone.

Green says open educational resources are foundational to engaging with responsible pedagogy. “If students can’t afford resources, if they can’t afford textbooks and it’s hindering their learning, then we’re not being responsible in how we choose the textbooks and how we choose what students should read. How can we be responsible in our pedagogy, in our approach to choosing textbooks, to choosing resources and delivering them?”

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