Introduction: How To Use This Guide

Hello! I’m Veronica Vold, the Open Education Instructional Designer for Open Oregon Educational Resources. I’m happy to share this companion guide to Designing for Justice: An Open Education Speaker Series. In a series of keynote events from spring 2022 to spring 2023, five globally-recognized educators, curriculum designers, and public scholars presented their vision and practice for designing for justice in open education. Speakers included Dr. Maha Bali, Andratesha Fritzgerald, Jess Mitchell, Dr. Mays Imad, and Dr. Sasha Costanza-Chock. The series built momentum for equity-minded design in open education in Oregon and offered interactive and accessible professional development for OER champions at Oregon’s public colleges and universities.

Each speaker takes up distinct themes in designing for justice:

  • In “Towards Openness that Promotes Social Justice,” Dr. Maha Bali explores entangled openness, inviting participants to analyze factors of oppression in OER creation and to engage new frameworks for design that Maha developed with colleagues, including the Compassionate Learning Design Model and Intentionally Equitable Hospitality.
  • In “Power and Empowerment: Honoring By Decision and Design,” Andratesha Fritzgerald expertly models strategies to increase learner agency while exploring the difference between cultures of honor and cultures of power, arguing that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) must be coupled with anti-racism, a “protective action to design for those on the margins or fringes of success in academia.”
  • In “Designing for Equity: Moving Beyond Inclusion 101,” Jess Mitchell advocates for tactical and relational strategies in managing oppressive educational systems, asking instructors to deeply humanize instructor-student relationships whenever possible.
  • In “Harnessing the Resilience Within,” Dr. Mays Imad draws on the neurobiology of learning to examine radical implications for instructors and students when we “befriend” our social engagement nervous systems.
  • In “Design Justice and Design Pedagogies,” Dr. Sasha Costanza-Chock applies Patricia Hill Collins’ matrix of domination in a design justice framework and challenges Oregon’s open education community to put 10 Principles of Design Justice into practice.

To support asynchronous and sustained engagement with each event, I developed this companion guide. It is divided into five parts, with each part focusing on one event. This content is intended for future educators, librarians, instructional designers, and teaching and learning practitioners to engage in individual and/or group study. In each part you’ll find:

  • the presentation description + presenter biography shared by each speaker
  • an outline of the presentation created to support asynchronous engagement with the video recording
  • the video recording and associated presentation links for each event
  • suggested discussion questions and activities created or adapted for individual and group study

This guide is an experiment and a work in progress. I designed each part to help you to track important themes and questions and apply each presentation to your own work. Each speaker consulted with me to learn about our open education community’s design needs in order to develop their presentation description. Presentation outlines synthesize major claims and reference specific resources addressed by each speaker. I chose to link to only a few associated websites so as not to overwhelm users, but resources are easy to locate online. The self-reflection questions that each speaker introduced are clearly identified so that you can attribute them for use in future workshops and resources. I either created or adapted discussion questions and activities so that individuals or groups can apply what they learned after watching all or parts of each recording.

Higher education professionals in Oregon manage competing priorities and unpredictable demands on their schedules. Synchronous events, even when hosted virtually, conflict with existing time commitments to instruction, consultation, unit-level and student services, and research. How can event planners and faculty developers in open education reduce barriers to professional development for busy and overloaded colleagues? This guide offers one solution. It is modular by design and invites multiple points of contact for individuals as well as for groups to study together. As an openly licensed collection, it also invites adaptation by future groups and individuals who want to customize or elaborate on questions or content.

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A wall of colorful graffiti spray-painted with hundreds of phrases like "live your life"
The Lennon Wall in Prague invites people to scribble, scratch, and spray comments on the musical themes of Beatles legend John Lennon. In this same spirit, Hypothesis invites people to comment on the themes of designing for justice in this companion guide. Photo by Red Mirror on Unsplash

About Open Oregon Educational Resources

As a program of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Open Oregon Educational Resources advocates for high-quality, equity-minded open education across the state of Oregon. In addition to reducing financial barriers for students, open education can improve key performance measures, especially for students who are traditionally underserved in higher education. One large scale study in 2018 found that faculty adoption of open educational resources (OER) improved course grades at greater rates and decreased drop, fail, withdraw (DFW) rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students (The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics).

Yet open education doesn’t ensure equity or justice for students simply because it is openly licensed. In fact, without equity-minded design, open education risks reinforcing or masking the systems of exclusion and oppression already at work in educational systems.

Designing for justice means inviting deliberate self-reflection and meaningful collaboration between instructors and support staff about power, history, and agency. It also requires time: time to consider critical design choices, including content representation, student engagement, and learning assessment, and time to explore these choices alongside trusted others. Designing for justice can be a vibrant and complex exploration of self, community, and purpose. The exploration gets better when more people can join the conversation. This companion guide exists to support this important goal.

About the speaker series format

Each speaker in this series delivered a keynote address based on their own scholarship, advocacy, and expertise as a leader in their field. Each event was stand alone. That is, the speakers did not coordinate or collaborate with one another. Thus, each speaker’s keynote address represents their own view of what matters when designing for justice in open education. Speakers agreed to openly license their presentation recordings and content to make it easier for future practitioners to incorporate resources into professional development for design. This companion guide brings their presentation recordings together in one place for ease of reference and continued engagement.

The year-long speaker series included five 90-minute virtual events. Events were hosted entirely online to support equitable access for instructors, librarians, and teaching and learning support staff across Oregon’s 24 public colleges and universities. Labor conditions in Oregon’s public higher education system make it difficult for participants to afford time off for travel as well as the lodging and food costs necessary to attend in person. In the ongoing global pandemic, hosting virtual events also helped to mitigate risk for infection or complications from COVID-19. Participants could join each event without compromising their safety or the safety of their loved ones. Hosting virtual events helped to reduce geographic, financial, and medical barriers to participation.

Hosting virtual events also allowed Open Educational Resources to contract with ASL interpreters and CART captioners from across the state, ensuring that events were more accessible to participants with disabilities and access needs. In hosting virtual events, we created the opportunity for remote work assignments. The choice to host virtual events broadened our network of potential service providers, avoiding competition with local in-person service provision within one city or area. Hosting virtual events also helped our program to honor its commitment to prioritize contracts with BIPOC ASL interpreters who are underrepresented in Oregon. Reaching out to a statewide network with remote work assignments allowed us to reach more service providers who might not otherwise have heard about the opportunity.

Designing for Justice: An Open Education Speaker Series was funded by the federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.


This project represents the hard work of many talented and dedicated people.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to each of our speakers for sharing their leadership and unique expertise with Oregon’s open education community.

Thank you to each of our ASL interpreters and CART captioners who helped increase access for participants!

Thanks to the Open Oregon Educational Resources team and our OER point people for their care in helping to promote each event.

I wanted to share my sincere appreciation to SPARC leaders Tanya Spilovoy and Nicole Allen for their encouragement as well as the 2022-23 SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellows for their warmth and tenacity.

My thanks go to Colleen Sanders, Amy Hofer, and Jeff Gallant for their thoughtful developmental feedback on the structure and focus of this companion guide. My thanks also go to Steel Wagstaff for the generous brainstorming session that watered the roots of this project.

Finally, my gratitude flows out to all our colleagues in Oregon’s 24 public colleges and universities who want to design for justice. I hope that this guide gives you a sense of connection and hope for the future.

Licenses and Attributions

All content on this page is by Veronica Vold and is licensed CC BY.


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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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