OE Global 2023 has ended
Building a Sustainable World through Open Education
Tuesday, October 17 • 11:00am - 11:30am
Responsive Teaching as an Open Educational Practice for Developing Graduate Students’ Research Skills

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In this presentation, we describe results from a multi-year design-based study of graduate students’ learning in an online, course-based MEd program that was designed and taught using open educational practices (OEPs). Principles of OEP were understood as collaborative and pedagogical practices that can involve the creation, use, and reuse of Open Educational Resources (OER) as well as participatory technologies and social networks to interact, learn, create knowledge, and empower learners (Cronin, 2017). Study findings demonstrate how students developed research skills when their learning experiences were scaffolded with responsive teaching and assessment approaches. Six facets for research skill development were used as a framework to align the desired skills for graduate students with the assignments in the program (Willison & O’Regan, 2007; Willison, 2018, 2020).

This MEd program was designed to support each learner to be an active agent who builds knowledge within a collaborative learning process, rather than as a passive recipient of knowledge. Some argue that when people recognize that open knowledge can be enriched by individual academic experience, they will feel more motivated to know and participate not just as an audience member but as a protagonist (Jordan et al., 2017). As protagonists of their learning, graduate students can become producers of knowledge instead of merely consumers (Schwartz & Fischer, 2003). Scardamalia and Bereiter’s (2010) theory of knowledge building in community helps to describe the connections between social interactions and the participatory and collaborative learning opportunities that develop research skills within OEP.

One research question guided this study: How do OEPs contribute to the conditions that support student learning of research-based skills? Interview and survey data gathered from participants (n = 13) as well as excerpts from reflective blog posts provided evidence to address the research question. The data demonstrated that graduate students were expected to develop research skills through completion of layered assignments and multiple rounds of peer review, edits, and revisions of their work.

We identified three key conditions that supported students with their learning, development, and continual improvement of research-based skills: (a) design of layered assignments, (b) formative feedback, and (c) peer learning (Brown et.al., 2022). Each condition required responsive teaching and encouraged graduate students to become co-designers of their learning as they developed research skills; this meant having the agency to pursue a topic of personal and professional interest, seek feedback and insights from within and outside the boundaries of their course, and develop an appreciation for the social process of knowledge-building alongside their peers. Students were asked to focus less on content and learning via knowledge borrowing, and more on learning in collaboration with peers, course instructors, and external experts through knowledge building (Schwartz & Fischer, 2003).

Using examples from students’ reflections about their learning experience gathered from written oral reflections and blog posts this presentation will invite attendees to consider how responsive teaching as an OEP can be used to create high quality, online learning experiences and design conditions that support graduate students’ learning needs in research skill development in post-secondary programs.

Keywords: OEP, Open learning design, Responsive learning, Research skills, Graduate students

Session outcomes and takeaways: Participants will have the opportunity to consider how research skills can be developed using open educational practices in their personal learning contexts. The connection between the development of research skills and OEP is an emerging topic in open education and could encourage more integration into course design.

Depending on timing, participants will be asked if they have seen evidence of the connection between the development of research skills when using OEP, and if so share their examples with other participants.

avatar for Barbara Brown

Barbara Brown

Associate Professor, University of Calgary
Dr Barbara Brown is Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning and Associate Professor, Learning Sciences in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Her research interests include research-practice partnerships, professional learning, and instructional design in... Read More →
avatar for Michele Jacobsen

Michele Jacobsen

Professor, University of Calgary
I am looking forward to connecting with old and new colleagues and friends in SOTL!
avatar for Christie Hurrell

Christie Hurrell

University of Calgary
avatar for Verena Roberts

Verena Roberts

Instructional Designer, Thompson Rivers University

Tuesday October 17, 2023 11:00am - 11:30am MDT
Turtle (S17/18) Edmonton Convention Centre
  Research & Open Ed