Open Educational Practices Advocacy: The Instructional Designer Experience

  • Michelle Harrison Thompson Rivers University
  • Irwin DeVries Thompson Rivers University
Keywords: instructional designers, open educational practices, open educational resources, advocacy, change agency


Instructional designers are in a unique position to provide leadership and support for advancement of new technologies and practices. There is a paucity of research on current and potential roles of Instructional designers in incorporating and advocating for open educational practices at their higher education institutions. Against the background of emerging open educational practices, a survey and interviews were conducted with instructional design professionals to establish, from their experience and practice, their roles and potential for advocacy for open educational practices (OEP) including open educational resources (OER). Among the results of the analysis, it was found that while instructional designers have a strong awareness of and desire to advocate for OEP in their institutions, their ability to move forward was limited by perceived barriers such as lack of relevant mandates and professional workload recognition, policy development and funding, awareness and leadership support. In addition, there were gaps identified between what they most valued about OEP, such as implementing innovative pedagogies, and what they could actually initiate and advocate for in practice (adopt and support OER). They pointed to a lack of formal learning opportunities around OEP and expressed that their main sources of learning and support were of an informal nature, acquired through their networks and collaborations with peers.

Author Biographies

Michelle Harrison, Thompson Rivers University

Senior Instructional Designer, Instructional Design Department

Irwin DeVries, Thompson Rivers University

Adjunct Faculty, School of Education


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