Open Textbooks, Intuitive Pedagogy and Social Justice

29 Sep 2022
29 Sep 2022

Open Textbooks, Intuitive Pedagogy, and Social Justice’ by DOT4D team members Glenda Cox, Bianca Masuku and Michelle Willmers has been published in Using Open Educational Resources to Promote Social Justice, a new edited volume by CJ Ivory and Angela Pasha published by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). 

The chapter enters into the debate around the role of open textbooks in promoting social justice and explores the complex interrelationship between five open textbook authors’ layered conceptions of social (in)justice in their classrooms, the pedagogical approaches they develop in response to these injustices, and how this extends into their open textbook development processes. 

In the study presented, the pedagogical practices of the open textbook authors are understood as “intuitive”, in that there is an instinctive aspect to their teaching approach and how they respond to the situations they encounter in their classrooms, and they apply an intuitive, critical approach to classroom power dynamics and content creation. In this sense, “intuitive” pedagogy, a form of critical pedagogical practice, is responsive and focused on the student’s lived reality, particularly as relates to principles of access and representation.

Exploring insights gained from interviews with five open textbook authors at UCT, the chapter highlights the role of intuitive pedagogical approaches in addressing injustice in the classroom and draws on the work of critical theorist Nancy Fraser to examine the role of open textbooks as a tool for promoting social justice in South African higher education. The authors argue that institutional support in the form of open textbook awards, grants, recognition of open education work in promotion criteria, and the empowerment of academics through intellectual property ownership are however crucial for transformation.

The chapters in the broader volume cover a wide range of topics, from theoretical critiques to examples of OER development in practice to examinations of institutional support for OER development.

Access the full-text volume here.