Getting to Open at a Closed Institution: A Case Study of Evolving and Sustaining Open Education Practices


  • Tannis Morgan BCcampus and Justice Insitute of British Columbia



open education resources, open education practices, higher education, sustainability, strategy, educational technology


This study examined a Canadian post-secondary institution in the period between 2010 and 2014, with a follow-up assessment in 2018 in order to understand its evolution with open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP). In the first timeline, the study looked at drivers that contributed to the uptake of OER in relation to the type of OER and factors contributing to the diffusion of OER. In the second timeline, the study looked at whether OEPs are being sustained and how they evolved at the institution. Results show that within the institution there are both benefits and tensions to being open, and an institutional approach that considers openness on a case-by-case basis is appropriate. In looking at these two time periods, the study fills a gap in OER research by providing a more longitudinal view of an institutional shift towards initiating and sustaining openness.

Author Biography

Tannis Morgan, BCcampus and Justice Insitute of British Columbia

Researcher, Open Education Practices - BCcampus

Director, Centre for Teaching, Learning & Innovation - JIBC


Andrade, A., Ehlers, U.-D., Caine, A., Carneiro, R., Conole, G., Kairamo, A.-K., … Holmberg, C. (2011). Beyond OER: Shifting focus to open educational practices (OPAL Report 2011). Retrieved from

d’Antoni, S. (2007). Open educational resources: The way forward. Deliberations of an international community of interest. Paris: UNESCO-IIEP. Retrieved from

Bliss, T., Robinson, T.J., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D.A. (2013). An OER COUP: College teacher and student perceptions of Open Educational Resources. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2013(1), p.Art. 4.

Bozkurt, A., Koseoglu, S., & Singh, L. (2018). An analysis of peer reviewed publications on openness in education in half a century: Trends and patterns in the open hemisphere. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 35(4).

Caswell, T., Henson, S., Jensen, M., & Wiley, D. (2008). Open Content and Open Educational Resources: Enabling universal education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 9(1).

Cox, G., & Trotter, H. (2016). Institutional culture and OER policy: How structure, culture, and agency mediate OER Policy potential in South African universities. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(5).

Cronin, C. (2017). Openness and Praxis: Exploring the use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(5).

Delimont, N., Turtle, E. C., Bennett, A., Adhikari, K., & Lindshield, B. L. (2016). University students and faculty have positive perceptions of open/ alternative resources and their utilization in a textbook replacement initiative. Research in Learning Technology, 24.

Ehlers, U.D. (2011). Extending the territory: From Open Educational Resources to Open Educational Practices. Journal of Open, Flexible, and Distance Learning, 15(2), 1-10. Distance Education Association of New Zealand. Retrieved from

Farisi, M. I. (2013). OER on the Asian mega universities: Developments, motives, openness, and sustainability. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 14(1), 273-289.

Friesen, N. (2009). Open Educational Resources: New possibilities for change and sustainability. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(5).

Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D. (2013). Institutional change and leadership associated with blended learning innovation: Two case studies. The Internet and Higher Education, 18, 24–28.

Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook

choices: A review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 573-590.

Hodgkinson-Williams, C., & Arinto, P. B. (2017). Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South. Cape Town & Ottawa: African Minds, International Development Research Centre & Research on Open Educational Resources. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1005330

Hodgkinson-Williams, C. A., & Trotter, H. (2018). A social justice framework for understanding Open Educational Resources and Practices in the Global South. Journal of Learning for Development - JL4D, 5(3). Retrieved from

Jhangiani, R. S., Pitt, R., Hendricks, C., Key, J., & Lalonde, C. (2016). Exploring faculty use of open educational resources at British Columbia post-secondary institutions. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. JIBC 2016-2020 Education Plan (2016). Retrieved from 2020-Education-Plan.pdf

Jones, C. (2015) Openness, technologies, business models and austerity. Learning, Media and Technology, 40(3), 328-349, doi: 10.1080/17439884.2015.1051307

Kezar, A., & Eckel, P. D. (2002). The effect of institutional culture on change strategies in Higher Education: Universal principles or culturally responsive concepts? The Journal of Higher Education, 73(4), 435–460.

Lambert, S. R. (2018). Changing our (dis)course: A distinctive social justice aligned definition of Open Education. Journal of Learning for Development - JL4D, 5(3). Retrieved from

Lim, C. P., & Wang, L. (2017). Blended learning for quality higher education: Selected case studies on implementation from Asia-Pacific. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from

McGowan, V. (2019). Institution initiatives and support related to faculty development of open educational resources and alternative textbooks. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. doi: 10.1080/02680513.2018.1562328

McKerlich, R., Ives, C., & McGreal, R. (2013). Measuring use and creation of open educational resources in higher education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(4).

Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., & Saldana, J. (2013). Qualitative data analysis, A methods sourcebook, (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Murphy, A. (2013). Open educational practices in higher education: Institutional adoption and challenges. Distance Education, 34(2), 201–217.

Naidu, S. (2019). The idea of open education. Distance Education, 40(1), 1–4.

Nikoi, S., & Armellini, A. (2012). The OER mix in higher education: Purpose, process, product, and policy. Distance Education, 33(2), 165–184.

Olcott, D. (2012). OER perspectives: Emerging issues for universities. Distance Education, 33(2), 283-290, doi: 10.1080/01587919.2012.700561

Patton, M.Q. (2001). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Rolfe, V. (2012). Open educational resources: Staff attitudes and awareness. Research in Learning Technology, 20.

Social Sciences Feminist Network Research Interest Group (SSFN-RIG). (2017). The burden of invisible work in academia: Social inequalities and time use in five university departments. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, 1(39), 18.

Taylor, J. A., & Newton, D. (2013). Beyond blended learning: A case study of institutional change at an Australian regional university. The Internet and Higher Education, 18, 54–60.

Watters, A. (2018, May 4). Invisible labor and digital utopias [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Wiley, D. (2007). On the sustainability of open educational resource initiatives in higher education. OECD.

Wiley, D., Williams, L., DeMarte, D., & Hilton, J. (2016). The Tidewater Z-Degree and the INTRO Model for sustaining OER adoption. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24(0), 41.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. (2015). Open Educational Resources: Advancing widespread adoption to improve instruction and learning. Retrieved from

Yin, R. K. (2002). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Yuan, Li, MacNeill, S., & Kraan, W. (2008). Open Educational Resources - Opportunities and challenges for higher education. JISC CETIS. Retrieved from



How to Cite

Morgan, T. (2019). Getting to Open at a Closed Institution: A Case Study of Evolving and Sustaining Open Education Practices. Journal of Learning for Development, 6(3).



Research Articles
Received 2019-04-30
Accepted 2019-09-27
Published 2019-11-19