Given that we must prepare students for the future workforce today how can we use the power of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Digital Social Science research to improve student learning and help students develop technical skills needed for the high-tech workforce? In this article, we use transformative learning theory (Mezirow, 1978) and Digital + Critical Participatory Action Research (D+CPAR) to analyze the effectiveness of integrating OERs into a course and reflect on how we used OERs to support student learning and make civic engagement more equitable at an urban community college. In a criminal justice course analyzing the legal system as a social construct we found that students were better able to complete technical tasks that lead to practical learning, working both in teams and individually, and that upon completion learners had more opportunities for self-reflection, seeing their own personal contributions along with the other learners, which reflected emancipatory learning. This article stresses the importance of collaboration and forming long-term relationships and argues the benefits of OERs can be evidenced through open pedagogical practices that provide a holistic vision of the process beyond the classroom.
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