1.2 Presentation Outline

In this outline, Open Education Instructional Designer Veronica Vold summarizes key themes and claims from the keynote presentation. It is intended to orient future participants to the presentation video recording on the next page and to capture the speaker’s major questions for the open education community in Oregon.

Outline for Towards Openness that Promotes Social Justice

This presentation takes shape in six parts:

  • Part 1: Chatterfall
  • Part 2: TRIZ Breakout room + Discussion
  • Part 3: Previous & new: infusing social justice throughout OEP
  • Part 4: Applying “Intentionally Equitable Hospitality” to design for social justice
  • Part 5: Is “entangled openness” helpful to designing for social justice?
  • Part 6: Spiral Journal

Part 1: Chatterfall

Maha begins by asking everyone to type one word in the chat about how they are feeling, noting that in the roller coaster of the global pandemic, people are not fully okay. Maha then poses a series of opening questions to participants to create a chatterfall, or a cascade of chat comments from everyone in the room:

  • What nourishes you lately?
  • Why is openness important to you?
  • What’s a recent open project you’ve worked on that you’d like to share?
  • Building on a quote from Egyptian educator & author Taha Hussein, how is knowledge like air and water?
  • In what ways is open education specifically like water (or should be)?
    • Maha paraphrases adrienne maree brown in response: Water can quench thirst, can clean, can drown, can choke (paraphrasing brown, Emergent Strategy)
    • Maha discusses the paradox of intentionally adapting or fitting in to existing institutional systems without losing one’s own shape
      • When change is slower, not sudden, we can be intentional about designing our “container” towards our purpose
        • Example: when coming back together after the pandemic, people remained in emergency mode thinking rather than slowing down and taking time to be deliberate about new solutions to shared problems
      • Designing “containers” with “intentional adaptation” is the goal
    • Maha complicates the notion that oppression is equally experienced among all groups, encouraging practitioners to ask “who needs to be in the center of the struggle in the room, as all oppressions are usually present, but not equally weighted in each group” (adrienne marie brown, Emergent Change)

Part 2: TRIZ Breakout room + Discussion

Maha uses Zoom breakout rooms to have small groups discuss an anti-goal: How can we design an open education project so that it reproduces oppression and inequity?

  • TRIZ is a Liberating Structure that means working backwards to solve complex problems
  • Post-breakout report on how to reproduce oppression and inequity in open education:
    • Make curriculum white or American-centric to make it harder to adapt
    • Use a narrow lens, only one voice, singular point of view, include only dominant perspectives
      • Maha notes that educator Stephen Brookfield recommends removing the dominant perspective altogether to create more room for marginalized perspectives
    • Only written in English
    • Reinforce stereotypes rather than combat stereotypes
      • Maha shares educator Samantha Veneruso’s point that using only open content typically reproduces dominant views because open projects that secure funding tend to reflect dominant assumptions
    • Non-discoverable
    • Locked-down technical format
    • No opportunity for students to co-create knowledge
    • Disregard accessibility
    • Reproduce existing textbook structures
    • Avoid equitable grading practices
  • Maha invites participants to save the chat criteria to evaluate current open projects
    • Once you notice a pattern, you can sometimes stop it right away, and sometimes you must plan for getting necessary support
    • Ask for the support you need from your institution and from the open education community

Part 3: Previous & new: infusing social justice throughout OEP

Following large group discussion, Maha introduces several frameworks for both understanding open educational practices and for building social justice-oriented design processes.

With Rajiv Jhangiani and Catherine Cronin, Maha has introduced a framework for categorizing open educational practices:

  • Open educational practices (OEP) are any kind of teaching practice that uses the open web in some way. They don’t necessarily have to result in a product or artifact or OER
    • Content centric (ex: create an OER) or Process centric (ex: support conversations among people)
    • Teacher centric or Learner centric (ex: who creates an open textbook?)
    • Pedagogical reasons (good for cognitive, behavioral, or affective learning) and/or Social justice reasons (economic, cultural, political; transformative, ameliorative, neutral, negative) but these two categories don’t always happen together: what’s good for learning might not be good for social justice
  • Maha introduces Nancy Frazer’s framework for social justice, which includes Economic injustice, Cultural injustice, and Political injustice
    • Addressing economic injustice doesn’t address the criteria generated in the TRIZ
  • Maha’s challenge to participants: “We need to ask ourselves if we are infusing social justice throughout our purpose, process, people, product” (the 4 P’s)
    • Analysis of real projects using Maha’s 4 P’s:
      • Example 1: Wikipedia: in what ways does it succeed/fail at social justice? The purpose is wonderful, but the process is troubling
      • Example 2: Open at the Margins [Pressbook]: a curated collection of scholarship on open ed that centers marginal voices that are critical of open education
        • Maha points to Sara Ahmed’s reminder that “spaces are occupied by certain bodies who get so used to their occupation that they don’t even notice it”
          • Questions for self-reflection: who turns up and who doesn’t? Is social justice central to your purpose? What level of redressing justice can you work on? In what ways does your process center social justice? In what ways might your process reproduce oppression or create new oppressions?
  • Maha encourages participants to allow for “less prep, more presence” (adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy)
    • This fits with Mia Zamora and Maha’s visual model of the Equity Care Matrix
      • Equity and Care must come together:
        • No equity and no care is systemic injustice
        • Equity and no care is contractual equity (performative, looks good on paper, a policy that no one enacts)
        • Care but no equity is partial care (unevenly distributed, not everyone gets care)
        • Care and Equity is socially just care: care is evenly distributed and everyone has a role to give and receive care
  • Critical questions to consider for Infusing Social Justice into a product through purpose, process, people:
    • Who is involved in the process? Are they those furthest from justice? Are they the ones who will benefit from the work?
    • Whose culture is prioritized and respected?
    • How is community built equitably across differences?
      • Remember: It’s not just about bringing people together. People must be aware of their differences and similarities in order to say when something harms us to try to avoid it in the future.
      • Epistemic Listening is key: people with dominant identities must recognize that people with marginalized identities already translate, compromise, and accommodate the dominant language and theories to try to communicate their experience of exclusion; the dominant language is inadequate to communicate marginalized experiences
      • The Compassionate Learning Design Model by Maha, Daniela Gachago, and Nicola Pallitt is adapted Nan Wehipeihanas’s work to apply to education:
        • To: do something to learners assumes that you know what’s best for them
        • For: do something for learners is to do what you think they need
        • With: co-design with learners to work together
        • By: allow learners to design and lead, but within a framework teachers create for them
        • As: allow learners to led by and as themselves, which is really difficult to do in a formal education setting! Learners build what they want to build according to their interests and cultures without any sign off from the instructor whatsoever
    • Whom does your product serve? Who is privileged or disadvantaged by it?
    • How might your product redress or reproduce injustice?

Part 4: Applying “Intentionally Equitable Hospitality” to design for social justice

Maha introduces Intentionally Equitable Hospitality as a design framework for social justice in education.

  • Intentionally Equitable Hospitality is a 4-part design process:
    • Phase 1 Predesign:  Who is involved in the design? Who is the funder and what are their impositions? How might they privilege certain groups over others?
    • Phase 2 Design: Does the design anticipate or respond to inequalities? Which oppressions does it redress? Which might it reproduce?
    • Phase 3 Facilitation: “Intentional adaptation” (brown) to new inequalities that arise in the moment, is “generous authority” used? (Priyar Parker)
    • Phase 4 Beyond the Moment: How do you build inclusive/equitable community sustainably? Between projects, do you read widely and spend time getting to know who to call on for future projects?
  • Ex: Virtually Connecting increases virtual access to academic conferences and challenges academic gatekeeping

Part 5: Is “entangled openness” helpful to designing for social justice?

In this part of the presentation, Maha examines the concept of “entangled pedagogy” and invites participants to apply content from the presentation to new scenarios.

  • Maha references “entangled pedagogy” by Tim Fawns to point out that things often don’t emerge in sequence, one at a time, but happen together:
    • entangled pedagogy: “not pedagogy before technology, but iteratively, pedagogy with technology, context and values shaping design and facilitation decisions”
  • Maha asserts that “entangled openness” needs a combination of three things:
    • Openness as pedagogy (knowing when open is a good idea and tend toward it) (Self as OER, Bali & Kozeoglu, 2016)
    • Social justice as praxis (understand social justice in application and evaluation, or action/reflection)
    • Digital skills and literacies to make an idea come true or can ask for help when needed
  • Group Discussion of scenarios: How can we move towards MORE social justice in this context?
    • Creating open textbooks: what are things we can do to make this a more socially just project?
      • Inclusive imagery
      • Diverse student editors
      • Internationalize names in scenarios, contextualize for the geographical region
      • Model ways to make mistakes and repair them: being willing to share semi-formed ideas
      • Ask students: “would you ever want to read this if you weren’t forced to for school?”
      • Include a positionality statement
      • Pay your contributors
      • Chunk textbook content into manageable pieces so it is easier to adapt
      • Include dialogue in place of debate
      • Sharing personal experiences that relate to the reading, leave spaces for people to integrate their own examples

Part 6: Spiral Journal

Maha closes the conversation with art educator Lynda Barry’s spiral journal activity.

    • Participants to fold a paper into four quadrants, draw a small spiral at the center of the quadrants, and then to fill in each quadrant in response to a prompt:
      • Right now, I feel…
      • I joined this session in order to…
      • I still need help with…
      • One thing I will do differently after this is…
    • Participants then circle or underline anything that stands out to them

Licenses and Attributions

“Outline for Towards Openness that Promotes Social Justice” is adapted by Veronica Vold from “Towards Openness that Promotes Social Justice” by Maha Bali and is licensed CC BY-NC.


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Designing for Justice: An Open Education Speaker Series Copyright © by Veronica Vold is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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