How might you use open pedagogy in your course?

How might you use open pedagogy in your course?

Browse some examples of open pedagogy on the Open Pedagogy Notebook and posted by colleagues in last summer’s seminar. In the comments below, write a paragraph about an open pedagogy assignment that you might create. You can adapt one of the examples you read about or come up with something new.

19 Comments

  1. I am impressed with the collaborative annotated bibliography assignment I just read about. Each semester my students create their own annotated bibliography based on their research for the argumentative essay. The idea of students submitting their entires into a group document sounds fascinating. I am thinking how I could modify this assignment for my class. In my class, students select their own topic for research, from a wide list of topics on CQ Researcher. However, for this collaborative assignment to make sense there would probably need to be one topic everyone researches? So perhaps I could start with the list of topics from CQ Researcher and have the class vote on 1-2 topics of interest. I am a big believer in giving students choices, so if we agreed on 2 research topics, for example, this could then lead to two groups collaborating on their annotated bibliographies.

    1. I also see the annotated bibliography project as promising for my English 101 class. Some years we look at a fairly focused topic (redlining) and some years we look at examples of a very broad topic (intersections of art and social change). There’s certainly plenty to read on both topics, and it would be nice to think that the students aren’t pointlessly reinventing the wheel every semester in their own research.

  2. In looking through the examples I was taken by the many examples which would create a tool for future classes to use and adapt. Thinking briefly about how I might create something similar, I might have my Small Group Communication students collaborate on a compendium of synopsis/analyses of films about small group communication. A paper we typically write individually is about how the dynamics of the course are demonstrated in 12 Angry Men. Each class could take a separate film and everyone could add to a singular analysis of it by discussing the various concepts from the course. This would leave a living document behind for other classes who could alter previous films while considering their own.

  3. I like the idea of having my students provide problems based on the OER that I have developed from the past. After I begin to explore the material that is already posted, I will have additional ideas. I am also considering developing inquiry-based problems whose solutions will fit better in a less restrictive learning portal.

  4. The main assignments in my linguistics class, The Structure of English, have always been student centered in that they ask students to notice, describe, and reflect on the structure of their own English, particularly in writing since it is a WI course. Looking at these examples and reading/watching materials about open ped, I can now see how these student-centered activities could go further (and be learner driven). Students from semester to semester could be building something–I don’t yet know what–that focuses on nothing, describing, and reflecting on their language use and/or that of their communities so that they not only problematize the concept of “standard” English but also create open-source work that documents what evolving, fluid language structures look like.

  5. One part of the final project for my Asian American History course is an archive that students create. The artifacts for the archive are chosen based on an interview they conducted and theories and histories that we cover in class. The actual archive will contain an image, description and how this relates to a person’s migration/settlement story. So far this has been a solo assignment (each student sends me their file). I would like to make the archive more collective in nature and perhaps think of ways for students to “remix” artifacts in order to see themes, similarities and new analysis. For instance, I suggest that students look at the USCIS web site to figure out exactly what visa (or not) their interviewee needed for migration. Perhaps allowing students to group these visas together and see them as a set would create information about how the US has historically used immigration? Initial thoughts that I plan to develop through the workshop.

  6. Many of the aspects of open pedagogy are things with which I was familiar when teaching grad ed courses at Fordham–the department required students to learn technologies and means for collaborative learning, from using Padlets and online whiteboards to wikis (Wikispaces has since closed) and WordPress while also helping them develop pedagogical philosophies reflective of what is now referred to as “open pedagogy.” Students learned to craft assessments and activities that encouraged their own students to see themselves, both collectively and individually, as makers of meaning and texts.

    Unfortunately, since teaching at BMCC, I’ve often been reluctant to push my own courses in this direction. There are numerous reasons for this, both personal and pedagogical, but I’ve moved rather slowly in that direction. I know the technological how and why, but it’s been challenging figuring out the practical how of doing this–meaningfully, actually adding to students’ learning without it being busy work or adding a complicated layer to assessments)–in a 15-week content-heavy course (compared to pedagogically driven, strategy-based courses in which I previously used such practices).

    Part of my concern stems from knowing that many students, particularly evening students, have difficulty with skills, both digital and analog, and finding time. For them to be successful, we have to spend time teaching them the requisite technological skills while also being mindful of their time. And for all the discussion of collaboration and cooperation, it can become a burden for peers who become resentful if things are not managed well by the professor.

    Further, with anything openly published online, we have to think ethically about how we ask students to present themselves online. As they wrestle with concepts that might be controversial or post responses on blogs/etc., many of their posts might be used against them as they seek employment. We know, for instance, that linguistic profiling negatively affects job applicants; I’m always working with students to improve writing skills, mindful of how their writing can affect others impressions of them as credible candidates for employment. To get something ready for online posting, I do worry that I’ll have more drafts to read and re-read. Pseudonyms are great, but only to an extent–I want students to claim credit for their ideas and work and to see themselves as knowledge creators.

    That said, I came to these workshops with the intent to post courses that are fully accessible online. The pandemic taught me that it’s vital for us to share our knowledge and not miserly hoard it. Many of the course I teach–particularly the ACR 200 course, which focuses on helping students understand strategies for improving children’s and adolescents’ literacy levels–should be publicly available to anyone seeking knowledge related to our courses (I can’t help but think how useful a course like this would have been to parents/guardians with children at home). In that sense, I see open pedagogy as an incredibly useful tool.

  7. Perhaps the most optimal way to use open pedagogy (and OER in particular) in my Critical Thinking (CRT 100) classes is to redistribute student material across and between class sessions and even across semesters!

    Much of my class involves giving students a variety of examples of arguments in general, and specific types of arguments in particular. Both in the more formal “high-stakes” and less formal “low-stakes” contexts, I have students giving examples of arguments that can be redistributed within a class, between classes, as well as from one semester to another.

    While the details of my potential use of open pedagogy are a bit foggy, I might do well to start by also thinking about some of the general ways that redistributing open education resources from earlier semesters can benefit future students of CRT 100.

  8. I am really inspired by the work that students did in collaborating on the syllabus and I can imagine pulling this model into one of my classes. I try to make sure that the readings that we use in my English classes reflect the student body so that they are able to glean something from it aside from the obvious information about thesis statements or essay structure. Every semester I am also inspired by students who have knowledge that enhances what we’ve read. For example, one student’s favorite poet was Pablo Neruda. When we read him, that student happily became our expert. The idea of building this type of collaboration into the syllabus, and having students be members of a community of learning seems like a wonderful way to inspire them. I also really like that students are able to point to the resources and information they need from me to meet our collaborative learning outcomes.

  9. The words “learning strategies” in Christina Page’s “Open Education, Justice, and Learning Strategies – What’s the Connection?” drew me into this post. During this virtual teaching and learning era (as in past in-person semesters), I became aware of the need for further scaffolding for writing assignments beyond the already provided examples and model essays, and something that students could access and consider on their own before or after finding support from me during my virtual office hours or at the college’s Writing Center. I have provided how-to videos and written instructions/models in my ENG101 (English Composition) Blackboard courses, but when it came to understanding a broader historical and cultural context for a topic/theme in discussion (such as the “First Amendment and free speech”—background info: this was my first time teaching this topic so I witnessed the varying levels of understanding on an admittedly complicated topic and while the content/lesson I gave was enough for some students, it was not enough for too many others), I need to give (optional?) supplemental readings and videos to address theme/topic-specific background knowledge and understanding. The take away: increase historical/cultural knowledge through curated sources and do this by building it into the course.

  10. I am interested in designing assignments or an entire course that is “open world” in the sense that students choose their own path through the materials and the class consists of students presenting what they learned to the rest of the class as they progress.

    1. There are a lot of great articles on integrating “video game pedagogies” into the curriculum, which includes open-world practices, as well as asset-based ways of rethinking our pedagogies based on video games as a knowledge scheme students brings to learning.

  11. When the switch to online teaching occurred, I started using discussion boards much more often, and creating assignments like the examples I’m seeing here – but I have often struggled to make clear the bridge between assignments/discussions and the learning goals of the course. I am so inspired by the responses above and by the examples from last summer. This year I plan to ensure that students set their OWN goals for learning throughout the course. And I’ll offer students opportunities to check-in on their goals and adjust and reframe as we move through the material.
    An assignment I’ve been mulling over for my future SPE100 classes is a learner ‘life hack’ assignment. Encouraging students to make video, audio, infographic, or comic/zine responses to a prompt requesting their favorite learner ‘life hack.’ As a popular area of shared knowledge, students will be familiar with what ‘life hacks’ are and will undoubtedly be able to look at their own learning habits to find what works for them. Sharing that information can enrich learning for others, and establish that they are part of a larger academic community, and a community of worldwide learners.

  12. I have used open pedagogy in my course in a way that I give my students some sort of freedom to do their assignments. I give them a wide variety of assignments and ask them to solve 2/3 of the questions. In this case, they can pick the questions that they are more comfortable with and solve them. I had very positive feedback since the participant rate has been increased comparing to the last year,

  13. I am teaching computer programming languages at the BMCC. I made a channel in the YouTube and I have recorded some videos for students. this channel is public and could be viewable by everyone but I put the link of each video in the course material of my blackboard. I use this channel every semester and every semester I will add more videos according to the students suggestions and needs. Also, I myself will record videos according to students’ weaknesses. I am not firm on the Syllabus schedule and until students are not completely understood concept, I won’t pass it.

  14. I’m in a jumble of ideas for my GWS 100 class (which is already OER). 1) One idea is to invite students to assemble a series of “Keywords” entries for core concepts in GWS. The assignment would involve a collective annotated bib assignment based on scholarly and non-academic sources + then development of Keywords (multimedia?) entries that include case studies/illustrations of the concepts. I am excited about this idea in part because it would support students in rigorously engaging with the core concepts of the field. Also, there is a genuine need for intro-level GWS teaching material that centers Black/WOC/immigrant/LGBTQIA+ feminist inquiry + my students will make a valuable contribution. 2) I’m also interested in an assignment that will ask students to conduct interviews (1:1 or small groups) with others in their lives, about specific issues related to feminism and gender justice, through a collectively generated interview guide. I do assignments with interviews often + require students to conduct scholarly research to place the interview in sociopolitical or historical context– here, I am thinking about asking students to produce a zine or a podcast or something intentionally shareable as the final stage of this assignment. (Alternatively, I’m generally interested in the idea of a class-generated podcast that chronicles different engagements with GWS concepts through interviews/oral histories- but I am worried about the technology – access, literacy, support required, etc. + would love to talk more about some of these potential barriers).

  15. yazliu

    One activity I might create is that ask students to spot the mistake. The purpose is to develop the concept, combat common mistakes. I am thinking about using former students’ work (which has some common mistakes). Do I need to get a permission/consent form to post students’ work?

    Another is to ask students to create some assignment/test/quiz questions. Students need to pose as many mathematical problems as they can base on the given information/formula/properties. The purpose is that students demonstrate their understanding of what they learn in class through such activities.

  16. Pingback: Backward Design – Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab | Summer 2021

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