Open Praxis is a peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal focusing on research and innovation in open, distance and flexible education. It welcomes contributions which demonstrate creative and innovative research, and which highlight challenges, lessons and achievements in the practice of distance and e-learning from all over the world. In this third issue in 2015, 12 authors from Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, Pakistan, South Africa, Slovak Republic and the United States of America have contributed in six different papers, four of them with a research-oriented approach and two of them with an innovative practice character. The broad topic of openness is somehow addressed in most of the papers, which deal with open educational resources and other open practices.
The research papers section begins with a paper by George Veletsianos (A Case Study of Scholars’ Open and Sharing Practices), who presents an analysis of the kind of practices that faculty members develop regarding openness when there are not specific institutional policies advocating so. He studies the case of an online university and focuses on the sharing of scholarly materials online in an open format. The diverse levels of openness he has identified in the case study lead him to value the influence of individual agency in the practice of openness.
Following with openness but from an institutional perspective, Marcela Georgina Gómez-Zermeño and Lorena Yadira Alemán de la Garza (Temoa: An Open Educational Resources Portal to seek, investigate and inquire) explain Temoa, a multilingual public catalog of collections of OER. They introduce how the information is cataloged and classified in a collaborative manner. Through interviews to Temoa developers, the paper shows relevant aspects about the construction of this portal and highlights its usefulness for the selection of OER to be used in the teaching-learning process.
Moving into a different topic, Alexandra Okada, Peter Scott and Murilo Mendonça (Effective web videoconferencing for proctoring online oral exams: a case study at scale in Brazil) focus on a specific strategy to support assessment in online education. They have studied the use of FlashMeeting (FM) in a Brazilian University for oral exams. Using a mixed method approach, they have collected data provided by the system and qualitative feedback from users -both students and examiners. Based in the study, they present a set of recommendations for an effective use of web videoconferencing in online courses at scale with the purpose of dealing with the challenge of quality assurance.
Closing the research articles section, Ayesha Perveen (Critical Discourse Analysis of Moderated Discussion Board of Virtual University of Pakistan) presents a qualitative study of discursive practices in online fora. Using a model developed upon Fairclough and van Dijk's frameworks, she analyses different dimensions in five discourses that took place in a course, with an emphasis in highlighting power relations from a critical perspective.
In the innovative practice articles section of the journal, openness is recovered as a central aspect.
Brenda Justine Mallinson and Greig Emil Krull (An OER Online Course Remixing Experience) explain an experience developed in Africa, which consisted on designing and implementing a course about Facilitating Online Learning by remixing existing OER. They narrate the whole process and decisions made, as well as the lessons learned when evaluating the experience, of special value for other academics willing to adopt, adapt, reuse and remix open educational resources.
Finally, Jan Gondol and Nicole Allen (Open Government Partnership as a Platform for Advancing Open Education Policy) reflect about the importance of national commitments for the advance of open education. They explain how the Open Government Partnership (OGP) -which comprises 65 nations- is committed with opening up government information and has initiated a move towards adopting open education in the national action plans. They present the case studies of the United States and the Slovak Republic as pioneers in this sense. They provide various valuable recommendations to other OGP countries to support open education national policies and practices.
It is our wish in Open Praxis that the topics covered in this open issue will contribute to discussion and improvement of practices in open, distance and flexible education. We want to express our special thanks from Open Praxis to the authors and reviewers who have collaborated in this issue.