Qualitative variation in perceptions of Open Educational Practices by educators and academic administrators : A phenomenographic analysis

Khalil, Abedelaziz and Bligh, Brett (2024) Qualitative variation in perceptions of Open Educational Practices by educators and academic administrators : A phenomenographic analysis. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract

Openness in higher education is crucial for fostering collaboration, diversity, engagement, co-creation, and knowledge sharing. Recent scholarship has discussed the emergence of Open Educational Practices (OEP), studies of which have focused on providing the definitions of OEP, differentiating it from an earlier focus on Open Education Resources (OER), and stipulating the roles of the practitioners involved. Yet what seems missing is any conception of how the practitioners undertaking OEP understand, experience, and make sense of it themselves. This thesis adopts a phenomenographic approach to understand the assigned meanings and variation of experiences of those practitioners who work on the issue. Seven educators and six administrators from an Open University in Palestine were interviewed about their practical understandings and roles in OEP implementation. Interview transcripts were subject to a phenomenographic analysis which sought to reveal patterns of variation in practitioners' holistic and detailed perceptions and experiences. The findings are presented as a phenomenographic outcome space presenting four distinct, ways in which the research participants describe the OEP phenomenon. In four progressively inclusive categories of description, OEP is understood as (1) Recontextualizing open resources and methods; (2) Collaborating and engaging learners through pragmatic activities; (3) Empowering OEP practitioners by enhancing their understanding of openness; (4) Engaging communities by creating knowledge and exchanging experiences. Between the categories, a developmental progression is illustrated, underscoring an expanding awareness across three dimensions of variation: practitioners, beneficiaries, and implementation. For example, in the first category, the OEP beneficiaries are understood as learners within the classroom, but by the fourth category, they are understood as the global higher education community. This thesis contributes to the literature based on this close analysis of practitioners’ understandings. For example, in the literature on defining OEP, I contribute an understanding that reaches beyond content towards open pedagogies and collaborative practices. To the literature on the relationship between OEP and OER, I contribute an innovative perspective on OEP implementation, shifting from resources to approaches emphasising the interconnected use of multiple open platforms for immersive learning. In the literature on the roles of OEP practitioners, I contribute an appreciation of how practitioners perceive their roles as recruiting other practitioners, including learners, educators, researchers, administrators, and the global higher education community. These contributions offer crucial insights into the recent academic discourse of maximising openness in higher education, derived from analysing the real-world understandings of actual practitioners.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/no_not_funded
Subjects:
?? no - not funded ??
ID Code:
221114
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
11 Jun 2024 14:35
Refereed?:
No
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
28 Jun 2024 03:04