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GO-GN Experts and Friends Research Special (23 January 2024)

For our first webinar of 2024 we’re delighted to introduce the first of our GO-GN experts and friends research specials. These sessions give you the opportunity to hear more about research in the wider network, in this case the fantastic work of Javiera Atenas and Lesley Boyd.

Join us on 23 January 2024 at 16.00-17.00 via Zoom!

Our schedule:

  • 16.00 Welcome
  • Ethical Development of AI-Enabled Open Educational Resources (OER) (Javiera Atenas)
  • 16.30 Possibilities and challenges of ‘Open Theory Building’ to address technology-enabled organisational learning and improvement for complex fragmented problems in HE and beyond (Lesley Boyd)
  • 17.00 Session closes

Ethical Development of AI-Enabled Open Educational Resources (OER)

Javiera Atenas (Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching Enhancement. School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Suffolk)

Open education as a philosophy or approach to education that advocates for reducing the barriers to access and participation, widening learning opportunities and democratising education through OEP, which ethos promotes collaboration and sharing good, effective, creative and innovative practices and the use and creation of OERs. These normally understood as digital objects designed by students, educators, librarians or learning designers, however, there is an incipient discussion about AI-enabled OER. In this presentation we will look at a model to reflect on how to ethically and humanly design OER though AI, as AI provides opportunities to create, adapt, personalise and contextualise resources in all shapes and forms that can support learners and educators around the world, however, there are a series human and environmental risks in this process, including racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination, thus, as open educators we need to be aware and reflect on these risks and co-create solutions to mitigate its impact.

Possibilities and challenges of ‘Open Theory Building’ to address technology-enabled organisational learning and improvement for complex fragmented problems in HE and beyond

Lesley Boyd (Centre for the Study of Global Development, Open University, UK)

This GO-GN ‘Experts and Friends’ presentation will tell the story of my recent interdisciplinary PhD based at the UK Open University (Boyd, 2022), and introduce the idea of an OER innovation which I have called ‘Open Theory Building’. The project has been accepted as one of the OER Innovation Case Studies for the EU ENCORE+ project, which is due for forthcoming publication.

The initial PhD was situated within a challenging and previously intractable learning design and delivery scenario in a Year 2 STEM module in the UK Open University, a dedicated distance learning HE context. The research both enacted and conceptualised an iterative technology-enabled action research process, integrating insights from the disparate and geographically separated practitioners involved. It combined insider action research (Coghlan, 2019) and Grounded Theory Method (Urquhart, 2013) to develop OU internal capabilities for organisational learning, defined as ‘a process of individual and shared thought and action’ (Rashman, Withers and Hartley, 2009).

An unfolding process approach understands the world as constantly evolving and ‘becoming’ rather than static or ‘being’ (Langley and Tsoukas, 2016). The unfolding Pragmatic action research process integrated insights, data and experience amongst remote participants to provide an enhanced and mutual understanding of teaching and learning design challenges, and to collaboratively design and evaluate intervention actions over three successive presentations of the module. A series of lasting and developmental impacts were achieved. Lessons from the project are currently being incorporated into ongoing module redesign work.

The new conceptual framework is entitled ULTIMATE: Using Learning Technology in Making Action- based Transformative Enhancements. ULTIMATE provides a framework for a structured and flexible collaborative action research process amongst geographically separated practitioners, connected by a learning technology infrastructure. The qualitative codes and categories within the framework can be rigorously verified and extended to other contexts, using the systematic procedures built into GTM. I have made ULTIMATE available as an OER (Boyd, 2023) , along with brief practical guidelines and the initial qualitative coding structure, so it may be understood and implemented by practitioners without specialist research methodology expertise. The work was also openly published in the early stages as a work in progress paper (Boyd, 2019).

A data sharing mechanism will be found to support and disseminate ongoing projects and development of the framework. It could then underpin collaborative sharing of insights and improvement action amongst disparate and geographically separated practitioners in any complex fragmented problems. This could embrace Education, sustainability, and societal challenges.

Read more about Lesley’s work:


  • Boyd, L. (2019) ‘Using technology-enabled learning networks to drive module improvements in the UK open university’, Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2019(1), pp. 1–7. Available at:
  • Boyd, L. (2022) Using technology-enabled learning networks to achieve practical improvement outcomes in the UK Open University. The Open University. Available at:
  • Boyd, L. (2023) ‘ULTIMATE: conceptual framework of a technology-enabled collaborative problem solving and improvement process. Open Issue 1.0 September 2023’. Lesley Boyd. Available at: (Accessed: 4 January 2024).
  • Coghlan, D. (2019) Doing Action Research in Your Own Organisation. 5th edn. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Langley, A. and Tsoukas, H. (2016) ‘Introduction: Process Thinking, Process Theorizing and Process Researching’, in The SAGE Handbook of Process Organization Studies. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 1–25. Available at:
  • Rashman, L., Withers, E. and Hartley, J. (2009) ‘Organizational learning and knowledge in public service organizations: A systematic review of the literature’, International Journal of Management Reviews, 11(4), pp. 463–494. Available at:
  • Urquhart, C. (2013) Grounded Theory for Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide. London: SAGE Publications.

Join us via Zoom!

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