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OERlabs as an example of action-oriented and design-oriented media pedagogy in higher education[Bearbeiten]

Excerpt and further comment on the following article: Hofhues, S., Reder, C. & Schiefner-Rohs, M. (2018/eingereicht). OER an der Hochschule – Gestaltungsorientierte Perspektiven auf ein junges Phänomen in medienpädagogischer Forschung und Lehre. MedienPädagogik. (Themenheft ‚Forschung und OER’) (further data not available).

The project is characterised in particular by the attitude of the participants to take a look behind current phenomena and to connect them to older (media) pedagogical debates. As far as the implementation of the project is concerned, it was therefore logical to use OERlabs as a form of design and development-oriented educational research by Reinmann and Sesink (2011, p. 10[1]) and thus also connect with forms of action-oriented media education. This attitude led us to pay particular attention to the problematisation and design of possible scenarios. For young phenomena such as OER in particular are proving to be challenges in coping with them, since there are neither routines for dealing with them nor structures in educational institutions, as well as a great deal of scepticism overall (cf. Stalder, 2016[2]), with regard to teacher*internal education there are hardly any theoretical debates. Nevertheless, the thematisation of OER, but in particular of the associated practices, appears to be virulent for teachers' internal education, so that it seemed necessary to sharpen precisely this awareness of open educational practices in teacher education, which is often neglected in the educational policy and material-oriented debate about OER (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013[3]). Accordingly, the project not only recognises the breadth of content and openness as a design feature, as well as its own involvement with the phenomenon, but also explicitly addresses it in various formats, as is customary in action-oriented forms (e.g. as related learning goals in the courses) and makes it possible to experience them.

Elements that take up both action and design orientation as action guiding principles are above all open scenarios and labs. Based on the assumption that for the occupation with OER first of all occasions and incentives must be arranged in order to bring students into self-responsibility, above all the seminars are aimed at working on OER in a project/product-oriented way and anticipating possible requirements of the later professional practice of the (teaching) students. Reference was made here above all to action-oriented media pedagogical practice outside formal educational organisations and to collage as a suitable form of discussion, in particular with the remix principle of OER (cf. Schiefner-Rohs & Hofhues, 2017[4]).[5] However, not only the seminar design followed an action and design orientation, but the entire process in the project - one could even say our attitude. This is also how the Multi-stakeholder Dialogues Element of shaping media pedagogical practice in order to deal with OER at one's own educational institution. The dialogues are a construct that ascribes importance above all to open dialogue and interaction within a pluralistic network. Of particular relevance to our goal of sensitization is the fact that participatory and pluralistic sensemaking procedures (cf. Calton & Payne, 2003[6]), which help to question the issue of OER and to associate it with previous practices. Innovations and their implications at the university can be experienced in this way: openness, uncertainties and paradoxes are inherent in the phenomenon of OER, contradictorily connected requirements (openness and unity, participation and expertise, ...) can be seen and discussed.

How does our idea of standing up for action and design orientation at the university in the doing of the last 18 months? Overall, the following experiences can be recorded from the perspective of action and design orientation, which can form the basis for the re-conception of the OERlabs as well as for (initial) theory building.

Thus the 'OERlab Seminars were judged to be profitable by the students [7] [8]. Altogether the studying on different levels (begun from the use of technology up to the openness to look over the own plate edge) see a personal profit in the meetings, in particular for their occupation preparation. Above all, the action-oriented approach ensures a high level of acceptance on the part of the students.

I especially liked the fact that the students all had the chance to realize their own ideas, which are also important to them personally and which may have something to do with their own subjects (in the case of student teachers). It was also very helpful to try out learning materials for yourself, because you could learn the most in the process.“ (Quote from a respondent (m/w))

But it was also challenging for students in the OERlabs, as they had to set their own priorities. If 'studying' is subjectively interpreted as the task of the lecturer to 'work off', this inevitably leads to irritation (see Lessons Learned Kaiserslautern).

„We are just small stupid students who want to insure themselves by asking questions and do not want to unsettle.“ (Quote from a respondent (m/w))

In particular, the question of what is framed by students as a course of study and what role open, per se indefinite spaces play in it can be connected with the experiences made. From our point of view, the OERlabs seminars were rather well planned, but in the eyes of the students, the open work assignments in particular provided material for discussion. The aspect of dealing with uncertainty and openness inherent in the labs is assessed ambiguously: There are students who cope well with the design of the seminars, while others would like more guidance and structure. Also the cooperative discussion is not a 'self-runner' and the seminars do not necessarily contribute to collaborative practices. In the team there are many models of division of labour and labour economics, which can be found both through the organisation of the studies (see Reinmann & Jenert, 2011[9]) and through elements of project learning (cf. Frey, 2010[10]). Especially the open answers of the students, but also the information on the closed questions point to long existing insights into project learning (cf. Frey, 2010[11]), that as learning experiences above all process steps are remembered and products inspire (or not inspire).

Action and design orientation were also central design features in the MSDs. In open, moderated discussion offerings (world cafés, tandem and group work, scenario work, etc.), activating methods were integrated above all, which made clear in particular the demarcation from university committee work: each participant can participate in the chosen points without hierarchy. Both at the University of Cologne and at the TU Kaiserslautern, student participants are initially overwhelmed by these open roundtables. Openness as a principle in event planning has no tradition at the university and therefore it is not possible to fall back on the habitual principle. In addition, similar to the OERlab seminars, input and professional guidance from the organisers are expected at both locations. It takes a while until trust in such a leadership is again achieved through the targeted use of methods in each dialogue, before participants show themselves willing to engage in the self-determined development of content. Hierarchical differences can be found here: Executives in particular tend to be more impatient when it comes to developing their own content and assuming responsibility in group work. A further interpretation is that the OERlabs project is essentially aimed at the members of teacher education with their relatively strict procedures and their clear job description. An open framework, which - from a didactic point of view - is also a structure, is not initially in line with expectations for finished and prospective teachers, but also for other participants.

Experimental laboratories as the third form of action-oriented offerings are not defined in the project concept by spatial or temporal structures, but by processes of collaboration, which can also be initiated and shaped by means of digital media and virtual exchange and OER platforms. In addition, therefore, voluntary offers, so-called open OERlabs, are created, which tie in with questions from the seminars or from the dialogue formats ( cf. chapter in OpenBook). In our experience, however, all participants find it difficult to try out open educational spaces beyond seminars or lectures. This is inevitably followed by the question of whether voluntary offers must be used as a matter of urgency or whether their very existence was/is essential for the progress of the project.

In summary, action and design orientation played a role in the OERlabs in different phases: in the development of a concept to address Open Educational Resources and their practices in teacher education, in the implementation of these ideas and drafts at both universities, in the concrete implementation of the seminars and formats up to the evaluation of our results, which flow into the further development of the OERlabs. If we summarize by assuming that action-oriented media education is above all "the development of the subjects' ability to use media productively to articulate their own collective interests is at the centre of their efforts" (Schorb, 2008, p. 77[12]), then this presents itself in the OERlabs as an Achilles heel. Both the multi-stakeholder dialogues and the OERlabs seminars reveal general challenges in dealing with open formats: In the multi-stakeholder dialogues, it is indeed possible to offer the opportunity to provide the OER topic with meaning for oneself in a participatory way and in discussions with others (cf. Calton & Payne, 2003[13]), at the same time all participants wish for more support and clear communication out of habit [14] The OERlabs thus offer an opportunity to address the paradox between security orientation and open educational practice and to experience an exemplary way of dealing with uncertainties (cf. Floden & Clark, 1991[15]). If we combine the perspectives of society as a whole with the experiences of OERlabs, these can be interpreted against the background of action-oriented and designoriented educational research (cf. Tulodziecki, Herzig & Grafe, 2014), since subject, media and society have a special relationship, especially in action-oriented media pedagogy (Schorb, 2008, p. 78[16]). However, this does not only apply to the design, but also to the perspective of gaining knowledge: The design perspective adopted also makes it possible to better understand the continuous connection between the design and research of higher education institutions and teacher education and the reflections associated with it. It is therefore particularly relevant to focus on communication and negotiation processes. For it is another story how communicative (negotiation) processes such as those initiated by the OERlabs become more professional in an organisation that is characterised by communicative, social practice but finds it difficult to be open to it. Academic self-administration and teacher training seem far removed from what we have experienced in the OERlabs.


  1. Reinmann, G. & Sesink, W.(2011). Development-oriented educational research. Discussion paper for the autumn conference of the Media Education Section on 3/4 November 2011 at the University of Leipzig. Access 6.6.2018 https://www.abpaed.tu-darmstadt.de/media/arbeitsbereich_bildung_und_technik/publikationen/Sesink-Reinmann_Entwicklungsforschung_v05_20_11_2011.pdf
  2. Stalder, F. (2016)). Culture of Digitality. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  3. Beetham, H. & Sharpe, R. (2013). Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing for 21st Century Learning. London and New York: Routledge.
  4. Hofhues, S. and Schiefner-Rohs, M. ( 2017). From Laboratory to Media Education Area: University and Media Didactics after Bologna. In C. Igel (ed.), Bildungsräume (pp. 32-43). Münster: Waxmann.
  5. In the seminar concepts of the OERlabs two didactic scenarios can be rediscovered (Hofhues 2015), whereby the media/material production by students in the project-oriented scenario 1 has a higher value, in scenario 2 research-based learning is stimulated.
  6. Calton, J. M. & Payne, S. L. (2016). Coping With Paradox. Business & Society, 42(1), 7-42.
  7. In the summative seminar evaluations at the universities of Cologne and Kaiserslautern, the course evaluations were consulted and extended by the perspective of self-efficacy as an important goal of action-oriented media pedagogy. The phenomenon referred to as self-efficacy expectation is seen as an important component of effective action (cf. Schwarzer & Jerusalem 2002, p.29).
  8. Schwarzer, R. & Jerusalem, M. (2002). The concept of self-efficacy. In Selbstwirksamkeit und Motivationsprozesse in Bildungsinstitutionen, edited by Matthias Jerusalem and Diether Hopf. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 44th supplement. Weinheim and Basel: Beltz
  9. Reinmann, G. & Jenert, T. (2011). Student orientation: Ways and wrong ways of a term with many facets. Journal for Higher Education Development, [S.l.]. ISSN 2219-6994 Access 6.6.2018 <https://www.zfhe.at/index.php/zfhe/article/view/254>. doi: https://doi.org/10.3217/zfhe-6-02/10.
  10. Frey, K. (2010). The project method. The path to educational activity. 11th, newly equipped edition. Weinheim: Beltz.
  11. Frey, K. (2010). The project method. The path to educational activity. 11th, newly equipped edition. Weinheim: Beltz.
  12. Schorb, B. (2008)). Action-oriented media pedagogy. In U. Sander, F. von Gross & K.-U. Hugger (ed.), Handbuch Medienpädagogik (p. 75-86). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
  13. Calton, J. M. & Payne, S. L.). (2016). Coping With Paradox. Business & Society, 42(1), 7-42.
  14. There are different views, which unsettle within the OERlabs: While for students the use of OER licences and the use of open materials are regarded as factors of uncertainty, for teachers and administrative staff/third space it is social practice: This concerns, for example, the direct path of complaint if one steps into a legal trap, exposes oneself to criticism of one's own material or the danger of losing autonomy (for safety orientation in teacher education see Drahmann, 2017).
  15. Floden, R. E. & Clark, C. M. (1991)). Teacher training as preparation for insecurity". In E. Terhart, (ed.), Teaching as a profession. Recent American and English works on the professional culture and professional biography of teachers (pp. 191-210). Cologne and Vienna: Böhlau.
  16. Schorb, B. (2008)). Action-oriented media education. In U. Sander, F. von Gross & K.-U. Hugger (ed.), Handbuch Medienpädagogik (p. 75-86). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.