The Open Education Initiative at Keene State College
Keene State College has taken a gradual, grassroots approach to Open Education. They favor a student-centered approach in which classes are gradually reshaped to emphasize students as active participants within the academic community. KSC is also passionate about breaking “the addiction” to paywalled resources that institutions of higher education continue to perpetuate.
When Open Education was first adopted in 2016, many KSC faculty across the disciplines were already “doing” Open Education, whether it was engaging in open pedagogy, adopting open educational resources (OER), or using/ publishing open access materials, but didn’t yet have the theoretical framework in which to talk about their practice. The Open Education advocates at Keene State have worked to meet faculty where they are, giving them the terminology and training them in the practices of open. In order to do this, collaborators Nora Traviss, Susan Whittemore, Graham Warder, Mark Long, and Ellen Nuffer, created the Open Pedagogy Learning Community (OPLC), a group of faculty who frequently meet to “read about, discuss, and practice the principles of open pedagogy… [they] share ideas and experiences, discuss the philosophy of ‘Open’, wrestle with the problems and challenges it presents, and read about what others around the world are doing to transform student learning using open pedagogy” (Keene.edu).
KSC Open and Domain of One’s Own
KSC Open is a project that is currently gaining traction among faculty and students. The idea behind it is to give students “a platform for creative expression, critical thinking, and integrative learning… based on [student’s] experiences and interests” (About KSC Open). The online space is largely unstructured, giving students the opportunity to have authentic experiences with the technology. They are able to experiment, make mistakes, troubleshoot and solve problems. Through this project, KSC promotes critical and independent thinking; empowers students to cultivate a digital identity/ fluency; and provides students with the opportunity to actively engage in scholarship.