Teaching with Open Pedagogy

Open education consists of a broad spectrum of practices that encompass the idea of sharing. The collaborative creation of knowledge, research, and learning materials, that are freely shared, benefits us all. 

"Open pedagogy has many definitions. We are defining open pedagogy as projects or assignments which have the characteristics of: engaging with students as creators of information rather than simply consumers of it; experiential learning in which students demonstrate understanding through the act of creation; inviting students to be part of the teaching process/participating in the co-creation of knowledge; moving away from single-use assignments in favor of situated , collaborative , and renewable ones; Student agency in deciding if and how their work is shared ." (The Open Pedagogy Project Roadmap)

Open Educational Practices (OEP), such as open pedagogy, utilize open educational resources (OER) to expand the academic freedom of educators and allow them to become curators and content designers when planning out their curriculum. Some examples of open pedagogy would be to have students socially annotate scholarly articles or create a test bank of questions for an open textbook. In implementing these practices, we can close accessibility gaps and create equitable course content which can be freely shared and implemented in classrooms around the world.

Listed below are resources and ideas to help you bring open educational practices and open pedagogy into your classroom. If you have ideas about a project or would like to learn more about open educational practices or open pedagogy click here to request a consultation.


Open Pedagogy Resources and Examples

  • Tools to Promote Open Pedagogy in the Classroom
    • A toolkit explaining multiple distinct teaching methods that promote open pedagogy. The toolkit explains open pedagogy and its relationship to OER and has additional resources and next steps if faculty want to implement some of these methods.
  • Open Pedagogy Notebook
    • A collection of open pedagogy projects that faculty have created and implemented in their courses.
  • Wiki Education
    • Learn more about how to engage students in sharing their knowledge with the general public through Wikipedia, Wikidata, and other open collaboration projects on the web.

  • Case Studies: How professors are teaching with Wikipedia
    • In this brochure, professors around the world will explain Wikipedia assignments they’ve used to meet learning objectives for their courses. They will also explain how they graded these assignments. 
  • Make a tutorial video over a topic or assignment from class.
  • Worked examples that provide other students with step-by-step templates of how to do problems.
  • Create games to be played by future generations of learners to help them prepare for, or deepen their learning on, specific topics.
  • Create guides to direct other students through readings or lectures.
  • Written or video-based presentations that summarize an idea.
"Assignment Examples", is a derivative of "Understanding OER". Provided by: SUNY OER Services. Located at: https://oer.suny.edu/. Project: OER Community Course. License: CC BY: Attribution. "Assignment Examples" is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by Natalie Young
  • Test Banks: students create test bank questions
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Add diverse points of view to existing OER.
  • Textbook Adaptation: Turn a general studies OER into a content-specific text.
  • Key Terms: Create a glossary of key terms for an OER that does not have one.
  • Student Stories: Curate content around the unique perspective of students whose voices are traditionally underrepresented.
  • Historical Perspectives: Have students collect historical artifacts from their family or community library and write about the history of the artifact. This can also be used to make TEKS history lesson plans. (Example: Rio Grande Valley Primary Souce Guides)

Often, open pedagogy includes the creation, use, or revision of Open Educational Resources. Robin DeRosa and Scott Robison (2017) suggest that “when we think of OER as just free digital stuff, as products,... we largely miss out on the opportunity to empower our students, to help them see content as something they can curate and create, and to help them see themselves as contributing members to the public marketplace of ideas.” 

DeRosa, R and Robison S. 2017. From OER to Open Pedagogy: Harnessing the Power of Open. In: Jhangiani, R S and Biswas-Diener, R. (eds.) Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science. Pp. 115–124. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bbc.i. License: CC-BY 4.0 

Single-use (or disposable) assignments are assignments that a student spends hours creating, a teacher grades it, and then the student likely reviews feedback and throws the assignment away or deletes it. Even though these are the kinds of assignments and assessments students are used to, if they really stopped to think about all the work they put into the assignment only to discard it, they might begin to resent the system. Renewable assignments, on the other hand, involve an understanding that the student’s work won’t be discarded at the end of the process, but will instead contribute to collective knowledge in some way. (Towards Renewable Assessments)

You can find disciple-specific renewable assignment templates with rubrics here.

Any time you want to use student work-- whether for research or for pedagogical purposes-- you must ask for student permission. We recommend setting aside time at the beginning of your course to inform your students about exactly how their work will be shared if they opt-in to participating in public-facing open pedagogy projects. During this time, you can distribute FERPA waivers, if applicable, and offer alternative assignments or ways to share their work without attaching their personal information to it if this is a concern. It is also good to clearly define on your syllabus how and where student-created course content will be shared.

Students should also be given instructions about how to remove their names from public documents in the future if they ever decide they no longer want to be associated with the work.

For more information on the subject of student privacy rights and examples of how instructors have protected student privacy in their open pedagogy projects, check out these resources.

While some students will be energized by the idea that their homework can be seen, used, or even improved upon by future students in the class, others may feel uncomfortable with this step. Allow students to opt out of making their materials public if they are uncertain about doing so and give them the option to remove their name from public documents if they are uncertain about this for any reason (The OER Starter Kit: Considerations for Using Open Pedagogy).

It’s important that students who are creating items that might be published and shared openly can understand what open means. If you are uncomfortable about discussing copyright and citation with your students, schedule a consultation with the University Library, and a librarian will happily visit your class to make the process easier.

It’s also worth mentioning that students are used to talking about “citing their sources” when writing academically, however in the OER world citing openly licensed materials is usually referred to as “attribution.” Citation and attribution accomplish the same goal of crediting authors for their content and ideas, so it’s important that students know exactly how and when to cite their sources. It may be helpful in an open pedagogy project to have your students practice both forms of citation (i.e. MLA + Attribution) because they may benefit from practice with both. When citing openly licensed materials, you can direct students to this Open Attribution Builder or teach them the TASL (Title, Author, Source, License) method which is explained here. Additionally, Indiana University created in-depth student-oriented plagiarism modules that help students learn how to recognize plagiarism and avoid it in their writing.

The Faculty Guide to Open Pedagogy presents different open pedagogical practices and research studies on each of these practices.
Planning out the scope and details of your open pedagogy project is an important first step. You can request a consultation from a knowledgeable librarian about your project and should consider working through the Open Pedagogy Project Roadmap modules before beginning a project with students.
  • The MERLOT Pedagogy Portal is designed to help you learn about the variety of instructional strategies and issues that could help you become a better teacher.
  • Search results for "Open Pedagogy" in the MERLOT open repository.
  • Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers: An "unabashedly practical guide for the student fact-checker" written by Mike Caulfield to "supplement generic information literacy with specific web-based techniques that can get you closer to the truth on the web more quickly."

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