What is Open Pedagogy?
Open pedagogy describes teaching practices that
- commit to learner-driven education that is access-oriented, and
- enable students to engage in the field of public knowledge and content creation through assignments and learning tools.
Open pedagogy can include creating, adapting, or updating OER with students, building course policies, outcomes, assignments, rubrics, and schedules of work collaboratively with students, or facilitating student-created and student-controlled learning environments. It is "the practice of engaging with students as creators of information rather than simply consumers of it. It’s a form of experiential learning in which students demonstrate understanding through the act of creation. The products of open pedagogy are student created and openly licensed so that they may live outside of the classroom in a way that has an impact on the greater community." (University of Texas Arlington Libraries)
Read more about the Attributes of Open Pedagogy [PDF] (Bronwn Hegarty, 2015).
KPU Open supports open pedagogy through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Open Pedagogy Fellowship
Why participate in open pedagogy?
Evidence suggests that Open Pedagogy leads to positive student outcomes, such as development of critical thinking skills, greater self-direction, and increased enjoyment of education. Open pedagogy enables faculty to grow as educators and create more collaborative, engaging learning experiences for students. Some of the values of open pedagogy for instructors include,
- Sharing. Freely sharing content and knowledge disrupts capital-based knowledge structures that prioritize profit over information access and retention.
- Transparency. Transparency provides an avenue for those in the learning process to understand how knowledge has been constructed and how a learner’s own positionality affects their biases, beliefs, and viewpoints.
- Collaborative knowledge construction. Knowledge is not viewed as complete, unchanging, or being determined by those traditionally in positions of authority (e.g. scholars, professors, teachers). Learners are able to provide valuable insight into learning materials, and the open practitioner recognizes that knowledge construction is not a closed process, but one to which information is continually added.
- Deconstructing traditional power structures. Concerted efforts are made to evaluate and evolve power structures in the educational environment, such as the traditional teacher-student relationship. Voice is given to those in underrepresented groups and those with authority move instruction away from a deficit model of learning.
- Personalized learning. Authority is given to learners to determine what is learned, how it is learned, how mastery is demonstrated, and when learning takes place. Students discover their own agency as learners, assist in shaping the broader classroom experience, and are allowed space to explore learning in community with other students.
- Learner empowerment. Students are empowered in all aspects of their learning. For example, students participate in knowledge creation, how learning occurs, and the assessment of themselves and others. This fundamentally shifts the 'traditional' classroom space to one where learner and faculty work in harmony with each other to create a learning experience valuable to each individual.
Wondering what open pedagogy looks like in practice? Browse through the Open Pedagogy Notebook.
This content has been adapted from Eric Werth and Katherine Williams The why of open pedagogy: a value-first conceptualization for enhancing instructor praxis, published in Smart Learning Environments (2022) as an Open Access article, licensed under CC-BY 4.0.
FAQs about Open Pedagogy
Is using Open Educational Resources (OERs) considered open pedagogy?
While using OERs in your course is an example of open educational practices, open pedagogy specifically focuses on teaching approaches and the learning environment. Open pedagogy considers the philosophical and theoretical approaches for creating a student-centred, co-created, open environment, all of which go beyond providing resources.
What rights and control do students have over their work?
At KPU, students retain copyright for all works created during a course of study. If students are creating work under a contract or agreement with an instructor or the institution, copyright will be determined by the terms of the contract or agreement.
What are best practices for working with students?
When sharing content outside of traditional classrooms, people have different levels of comfort and risk. Students should never be required or compelled to give up any of their privacy in order to complete an assignment. It is always good to provide students with options on how they may complete or share their work.
If you are publishing students’ work on a course site or planning to re-use it in future terms, ask for students’ permission regarding how long they would like their work shared. Some may not mind having it posted indefinitely, but some may wish to have their work taken down as soon as the class is finished. At the very least, let them know that if they later decide they would like it taken down, they can contact you.
It is best practice to provide them with choices that will protect their privacy, such as:
- publishing with a pseudonym
- publishing in a way that only other people in that class can see their work
- submitting only to the instructor or T.A.
- publishing publicly with or without an open license
When working with students as creators of content, it can be helpful to think of them as collaborators. You might not want your work or privacy shared without your consent and students are often the same.
Interested in engaging with open pedagogy but unsure of where to begin? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be delighted to help.