At the Intersection of Open Education and Instructional Design

Streamed Session Equity and Inclusion

Brief Abstract

Explore the potential of Open Educational Resources and Practices (OER/OEP) to foster intentionally-inclusive learning, encourage student engagement and promote instructor autonomy and reflection. Participants will gain familiarity with OER/OEP and their affordances, and will consider the potential for collaborative faculty-designer partnerships to foster more open, welcoming learning environments.


With a background in librarianship and instructional design, coupled with years of teaching experience, I engage with faculty and students at the University of Virginia. I work to leverage sound instructional design and UDL principles in the development of instructional materials and learning objects for use in both synchronous, asynchronous, and hyflex settings.

Extended Abstract

Whether a course is taught online or in person, learning takes place at the intersections of course materials, practices, and communities. Similarly, great instructional design takes place at those intersections of efforts by faculty, designers, students, and other partners with a shared instructional mission. Instructional designers, partnering with faculty to provide expert pedagogical and technical support, can facilitate exploration of inclusive and learning-centered materials, practices, and communities to enhance learning for all students.  In particular, designers can support faculty exploration and adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) and associated open education practices (OEP) to foster more inclusive learning.

In this session, we argue for the potential of OER and OEP to foster intentionally inclusive learning, encourage student engagement and belonging, and promote instructor autonomy and reflection. Through the story of OER development efforts involving our institution’s library, instructional designers, faculty, and graduate students, we will highlight the importance of rich collaboration in enhancing learning for all students.

OER are defined as teaching and learning materials that are created and licensed with the expectation of open use, sharing, and/or alteration.  While these resources have primarily been considered a possible solution to high textbook costs, there has been increased traction in the potential of OER to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement through a responsive, learner-driven pedagogical approach.  Leveraging the foundations of OEP, which encourages moving beyond simple access to and use of content but provision of multiple entry points to openness, the opportunity for a more enriching classroom experience emerges. (Cronin & Maclaren 2018).

Participants will leave the session with increased familiarity with OER and OEP and their use in multiple modalities.  We’ll provide concrete examples of OER implementation processes and reflect on things we, as instructional design professionals, wish we had known at the start of our journey.  In addition, participants will gain a broadened awareness of the potential roles for instructional designers to collaborate with faculty beyond institutional learning management systems (LMS). 

Using a conversational, storytelling format, we will relate our journey through audio and video. We will provide contemplative pauses and opportunities for participants to respond to reflective questions. These pauses and questions are designed to foster asynchronous exchange, and to further discussion of OER and Open practices at participants’ home institutions.


Cronin, Catherine, and Iain MacLaren. "Conceptualising OEP: A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Literature in Open Educational Practices." Open Praxis 10.2 (2018): 127-143.