Pragmatism vs. Idealism and the Identity Crisis of OER Advocacy

Rajiv Sunil Jhangiani


The open education (OE) movement is in its adolescent years and experiencing an identity crisis as it is pulled towards both pragmatism (marked by an emphasis on cost savings, resources, and incremental change) and idealism (marked by an emphasis on permissions, practices, and radical change). In this article, I describe these tensions (free vs. freedom; evolution vs. revolution; and resources vs. practices) before going on to argue in favour of a nuanced resolution to this Eriksonian crisis that reflects the diverse needs and motivations of educators. The merits of an integrated approach and its implications for the future trajectory of the OE movement are discussed.


Open educational resources; open educational practices; advocacy; pencil metaphor; psychology; Erikson

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