Deconstruction of Open Education Instructional Practices to Equalize for Diversity

By: Najia Sabir  

This study explores the activities, tools, and resources that instructors of open education courses (OEC) use to address the diversification of their courses by examining the instructional design practices and pedagogical methods. The research addressed how educators address learners’ cultural and linguistic diversity. Following email interviews with OEC leaders, specifically considering issues of learner diversity, a questionnaire was crafted and completed by 152 OE instructors from around the globe. More than 8 in 10 educators claimed heavy involved in designing their OEC; One-third placed extensive effort on meeting unique learner needs during the actual design of their course; and a few were concerned with learn diversity during course delivery. Aligning with previous research, dominant resources/tools employed were discussion forums, video lectures, supplemental readings, and practice quizzes. Self-monitoring and peer-based methods of learner feedback were more common than instructor monitoring and feedback. Some educators mentioned the use of flexible deadlines, proposed alternatives to OEC assignments, and introduced multimedia elements, mobile applications, and guest speakers to address learner diversification. A majority of the educators reported modest or high interest in learning new techniques to address diversity in their next OEC. To address cultural and linguistic differences, instructors added subtitles to video content and offered transcripts for multimedia. Educators were also careful with language use and hand gestures, used simplified language, slowed the pace of speech, simplified the course content and navigation, limited text by relying more on pictures, and encouraged students to translate and localize the content for their peers.

Diversity Open Education
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Najia Sabir