Documentation:Open UBC/Tensions and Risks

From UBC Wiki

While open practices are enabling faculty, staff and students to reduce barriers to research and education by opening their classrooms, incorporating new resources and perspectives, broadly sharing their data, and contributing to public knowledge, the adoption of open scholarship cannot be assumed to free of biases and conflicts, and the impacts of open practices can differ depending on the context of those practices. Unaddressed tensions caused by “openness” can lead scholars, students, and community members to feel alienated, exploited, or unheard. Unexamined risks can lead to unintended outcomes for any open endeavours.

Within these intersections lies an opportunity for open scholarship: to directly examine and acknowledge the tensions and risks inherent in openness, and to thereby create a space in which dialogue is generated and understanding of openness is deepened.


UBC, in partnership with BCIT, SFU and BCcampus, held a 2017 Open Access Week discussion exploring the tensions and risks on open scholarship, as part of International Open Access Week. The event brought together speakers from BCcampus, Camosun College, SFU and UBC to explore themes including Indigenous and traditional knowledge, ethics and privacy, student-faculty relationships, accessibility and inclusivity, and instructor-institution relationships.

Featured speakers include:

  • Amanda Coolidge (BCcampus)
  • Sue Doner (Camosun College)
  • David Gaertner (First Nations and Indigenous Studies, UBC)
  • Jessica Gallinger (SFU Library)
  • Christina Illnitichi (AMS, UBC)
  • Lisa Nathan (School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, UBC

Proposed Process

  • Note on process: maybe for each topic below:

Open for who and for what?

  • If open is dependent on technology, where are the barriers (ie. geography, access to internet/electricity, access to equipment, etc).

The values of open

  • is open inherently good?
  • unpacking the "disposable assignment"
  • who says it is disposable?
  • is the process of learning/ writing/getting feedback not valuable in and of itself regardless of how it is shared, published or disseminated?
  • what's the value in students publishing their own work? How does this contribute to engagement/motivation? How might it diminish engagement/motivation?
  • why do we share what we learn?
  • what's our responsibility to the public (as a public institution)?
  • do students share that responsibility?

The real cost of open

  • What's the cost to student learning when they can't afford to buy textbooks?
  • Where is the hidden (labor) cost in developing open resources?
  • How do we view the cost/benefit question when it comes to open learning practices?
  • What are the costs associated with open teaching practices?
  • What are the benefits to the learning environment?
  • How do you know that the up front expenditure of time and energy has had a positive impact on the learning environment? What do you look for?

Who is included/excluded?

What are the risks?

  • students don't know why they are participating in open practices.
  • students not clear how they can retain ownership over their work.
  • tenure and promotion practices may not be supportive of open publishing for scholarly work
  • violence and anger in open spaces: effect on women, people of color, indigenous people: how do we support students who are engaging in open spaces? See comments section in a National Post article on indigenous issues as an example.

Ethical considerations

  • Permissions
  • what does meaningful consent look like - use of data for example?
  • Reciprocity
  • Humility
  • Inclusion

Open Education Movement

(still need to unpack this) :


  • Plymouth University - Centre for Transformation - Student & Faculty OER Panel - 2018: panel opener (student perspectives on video) starts at 8:29 - panel starts at about 13:30 - students and faculty discuss open pedagogy and OERs.