Dr. Kent McGuire is the Program Director of Education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He set the tone for the rest of the conference by focusing on the whys of using Open Educational Resources.
Through a number of stories, McGuire spoke of his journey as he has tried to help others learn. He focused on three topics:
- Work on the Committee of Arts and Sciences. In this area, he focused on STEM. He primarily served underrepresented communities such as Native Americans, Hispanics, community colleges, and other institutions that are under-resourced. Students cannot afford textbooks and are becoming aware of OER. Instructors can improve learning by using OER and tailoring the content for their students. For example, a math course can be made relevant to nurses with appropriate examples.
- Strategy Refresh. McGuire discussed a strategy refresh for the Hewlett Foundation as they pursued deeper learning. They are focusing on the combination of open pedagogy and learning and how they can move together. The Hewlett Foundation is an outcomes-based philanthropy. They are questioning “to what end” and “for what purpose” are their efforts.
- Equity Indicators. McGuire also touched upon the topic of equity indicators. We have the data available. We now need to build indicators and determine how to intervene. This is not an easy problem.
McGuire stressed that we need to close the gap on efficiency for using OER and open pedagogy. More research is needed. Standard pedagogy practices are not getting us to where we need to be. We are not engaging students. He provided an example of “women in math.” Women were not passing a specific exam. Therefore, McGuire and his team created new content to help them pass the exam. Again, with OER, we can tailor a course for specific audiences. We could create a math course dedicate to nursing, OTA, or welders.
Finally, McGuire stressed that “Big arguments of small things are not helpful.”