Jhangiani elected to board of global open education organization

Already a Canadian leader in open education, Rajiv Jhangiani is poised to broaden his impact by taking on a leadership role with an international advocacy organization.

Brock’s Vice-Provost of Teaching and Learning was recently elected to the board of directors of Open Education Global (OEG), a member-based non-profit organization that supports the expansion of open education resources and practices.

Jhangiani has also been invited to give the opening keynote address at the 20th annual Open Education Conference in November.

He has helped more than 100 institutions around the world build their open education capacity since he first began exploring the field a decade ago.

“Open education is a philosophy about the ways in which people may share, build on and advance knowledge,” he says. “It seeks to eliminate barriers — legal, economic, technological or any other — to both the creation of knowledge and the dissemination of knowledge.”

His own foray into open education began with trying to help his students navigate financial barriers to education by locating and adapting textbooks with open licenses. He went on to research the impact and efficacy of open educational resources and to explore the ways students can co-create knowledge through open pedagogy practices.

Through his new role with OEG, Jhangiani hopes to promote thoughtful open education policy-making, learn from practitioners around the world and nurture partnerships between Brock faculty and their international peers.

“I’m acutely aware of the ways in which there’s a gulf between the potential of higher education and the reality, which too often replicates existing societal power hierarchies,” he says. “For me, this role is about making sure that we can widen equitable access to higher education for students and provide support for faculty members embracing critical pedagogy and socially just practices.”

Beyond removing financial barriers, Jhangiani says many faculty members are drawn to open education resources and practices because of the opportunities to make their teaching practices more inclusive.

Since joining Brock last August, he has been involved in the development of a new Open Educational Resources Adoption Grant program, funded by the Brock University Students’ Union, that provides support to instructors who wish to incorporate these resources into their courses.

Jhangiani hopes to continue to advance open education at Brock by developing training and supports for faculty members who want use open pedagogies or publish open education resources.

He applauds Brock for being one of a handful of universities that recognize the creation of open educational resources for tenure and promotion and for its leadership in promoting open access scholarship.

Jhangiani’s passion for open education is fuelled in part by the barriers he faced as an international student and adjunct faculty member early in his career.

“When people talk about the power of higher education to unlock human potential or to serve as a tool for economic and social mobility, that is not a theoretical concept for me,” he says. “That is very much my lived experience. I found my place in this world because of educators who believed in me.”

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