Universities are, in many ways, centers. They are places of coherence that have focused (and often noble) missions related to learning and education. But as we develop these centers for knowledge exploration, we also develop margins; as we create insides that we hope will be welcoming and accessible, we also create outsides that are distinctly not a part of our learning ecosystem.
In this keynote, Robin will consider the idea of a “university at and of the margins,” and will offer possibilities for how how the principles and pedagogies of open education can de-center our educational institutions in ways that make them both more flexible and more inclusive.
We will take a look at how the specific practices that infuse teaching and learning can be revisioned in order to generate educational institutions that thrive on the participation of communities and learners from beyond our own familiar and structured borders. We will explore how faculty can widen our understanding of what constitutes an “academic” issue in order to expand access to our content areas; what do food pantries and textbook costs and transportation issues have to do with Chemistry or Literature? We will consider how libraries can be sites not only of information and research, but also of community-building and outreach. And we will think about instructional design and academic technology as ways of refocusing the structures of the academy on the publics that surround and sustain our colleges and universities. In short, we will think about how our daily practices can constantly work to open the channels and the borders between our academic worlds and the larger contexts that surround and infuse us.