What is open pedagogy?

What is open pedagogy?

To be completed by Thursday, June 3.

Watch the video below, in which Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani introduce the idea of open pedagogy. The video is about one hour in length. The first three minutes are an introduction to the webinar series; you can fast forward to 3:12 if you would like to skip that part.

In the comments section below:

  • Tell us what jazzes you about open pedagogy. What confuses you?
  • Write a paragraph describing open pedagogy to a colleague.


  1. I like the idea of having students build a group annotation of a text or group of texts. I can definitely see using this in my English 101 class, in place of assignments I have been having the students do individually.

  2. Working in a community college, one really sees issues of access and equity in action. It’s exciting to consider ways of increasing both access and equity. As someone interested in specifically pedagogy, it is also exciting–like solving a puzzle–to think about teaching in such a way that is “learner-driven.” (This past sentence almost sounds contradictory, given the traditional meaning of “teaching.”) I really don’t want to be engaging in “performative” schooling. It’s crazy that student work is often seen by only one person other than the student. I’ve often though this: why did they write this paper if only I read it. Well, on one level it shows nme their went through a mental, academic exercise. But, um, what else? I want what students do to be meaningful beyond the moment, the test or the project submission. I would love to see a teacher ed program that truly embraces open ped. I do think there are certain instructors who don’t have the luxury of pursuing open ped.
    I’d start by telling a colleague that open pedagogy is an approach that is student driven and supports students motivations or purposes for learning. I’d then openly steal Robin DeRosa’s domains (survive, know, understand, thrive, contribute, and transform) because I am still developing my own fluency of the topic. But these domains help us understand the potential trajectory open an open ped approach.

  3. Open gives me the opportunity to use my knowledge and experience to develop materials that are proven effective in the learning of mathematics. I am given the opportunity to take the OER uses and expand its use with materials I believe will make the resource more effective and beneficial to my students. It will also integrate my mathematical creativity and pedagogy to build an alternative learning experience.
    I am still confused about how the Open Lab will enable this to happen. I wonder if the learning curve of Open Lab high?
    Open pedagogy allows for learning to occur between current learner, educator, and future learner of the resource. Its use allows learners to take an active role in their learning and the development of the pedagogy. The learner is able to use their prior and current knowledge to impact the pedagogy used for the course. From listening to the video, I thought about material that I have developed and have revised and improved over time that I’ve placed behind a wall that I can not easily share with others outside of my course. Open Pedagogy will provide me with an opportunity to better curate my former student projects and easily improve my work as well. Finally, I like the idea that I can easily share with others.

  4. It was insightful to hear how designing your OER course provides so much more access and not only affordability but the reach is tremendous. I was totally enamored with the prospect of teaching students to create and build a question bank. Also allowing students to collaborate on the textbook and annotation was so inspiring. The flexibility of Open appeals to me as well. I like the opportunity to continually receive feedback and resources that can expand and enhance the learning process.

  5. Open pedagogy will allow my colleagues the ability to design their course in a way that is affordable, accessible and collaborate with learners. It provides material that is inexpensive. Open pedagogy looks at the real life circumstances that either challenge or support the learning process and responds to those demands in its design.

  6. I am interested in using open educational resources, and making my class as affordable as possible. I really responded to the discussion at the end of the video – making sure that students are paid for their work, if they work on creating OER. They mentioned grants, but as an adjunct I’m not sure I qualify to bring grants, let alone have the time to apply for them so my students could be reimbursed. Protecting students’ rights is as important to me as bringing their voices into the academic conversation. Some of the professors in the video took several years to develop their OER textbooks – for an adjunct who is never sure of their employment from semester to semester (plus the need for multiple jobs to survive), creating OER resources is a challenge. I will use OER resources and redesign my course using Open Pedagogy, but the creation of resources from student contribution (a major focus of the second half of the video) feels like a reach for me.

  7. 1. A few things that excite me about OER: 1) ideally moves us to see the “whole” student and should shift what we include when we think of access 2) the practice of students and faculty actively shaping the field through the production of materials. 3) I appreciated the speakers’ point that Open Ped can allow students to shape the labor markets that they enter into. Given the reality of labor market segmentation and how education maps onto it, this was a good reminder of how we can approach the “students go to college to get jobs” framework with a more active eye to engagement, change and challenge (hopefully!) rather than slotting.

    2. A lot still confuses me but hopefully will become clear through practice. At this moment, how to hit/implement the multiple Open Ped outcomes and still now be overwhelmed is one point to think through. Another is how we move the access question beyond the individual classroom/professor and thus not – as we often do – implementing individual level solutions for what are collective problems. (Also a note: l I took a screenshot of the six domains chart that was shared at 43:40. This helped conceptualize Open Ped better for me)

    3. Hey colleague! You want to know what Open Pedagogy is? It is a way of teaching that attempts to disrupt the multiple embedded hierarchies and “gate-keeping” that mark traditional academia. This includes: seeing students as producers of knowledge (not just as consumers), taking account of the ways that the materials we require for education can be a barrier for students, engaging students to be creators of information in the course.

  8. Open pedagogy is the practice of using content that is publicly accessible and/or uses open copyright/licensing allowing for re-use, re-distribution and re-mixing of that content. It is used to address equity issues through affordability and access as well as to encourage student participation in the creation and curation of educational materials.

    For me, OER and open pedagogy is exciting because I’m interested in exploring ways to encourage students to be active participants in searching, analyzing and creating their own educational materials and experiences. I believe that a significant part of learning happens when students are inspired by the process to the extent that they begin to search for things beyond the classroom. I’m interested in exploring ways to foster those experiences.

    What confuses or really concerns me is burdening students with ambiguity. I find students are often more stressed by choice than by having specific assignments and expectations. I think it’s important to introduce agency and choice into student learning in a way that doesn’t feel stressful or like extra work.

    I have used OER for most of my teaching career and I’ve never had a required text book. In my field (multimedia and programming), I imagine this is easier to accomplish, because there are so many open source and web based resources. The part that I work to work on is finding ways for students to contribute back to the classroom, to add to the content, assignments and evaluations that I use.

  9. To avoid duplicating some of the great comments many of my colleagues posted, I want to add two points that I see relevant about open pedagogy:

    1) Students are also makers of meaning/knowledge. I see open pedagogy as pushing us to embrace the fact that many of the assignments/assessments students complete in our courses go into the trash bin at the end of the semester — whether because students found no real practical purpose for the assignment or we have to declutter from students not picking up their work. Open pedagogy pushes us to rethink whether these assessments are truly meaningful, and if they are, why aren’t students sharing them outside of the classroom? Where I see open pedagogy most brilliantly working this way is in the incredible digital portfolios that students in art programs, including media arts, create as a means of showcasing their work. I think, from a programmatic point-of-view, this model shows us that there are big ways we can rethink education and the AA (and transfer) at BMCC and really redesign what we do. That said, I do see this as harder to achieve at the level of each individual course where you only have 15 weeks. And there are ethical points I mentioned in my other post for this session that I think warrant consideration.

    2) As I noted in my other post, one of the beautiful points about open pedagogy is what comes to mind when I think of Open University, which existed before technology was much more abundantly available. It’s about not miserly hoarding knowledge but making it available. We (including students) are makers of knowledge that can be/should be shared beyond academic contexts. There are, of course, legitimate concerns around exploiting labor, and I think can see arguments about enrollment (though I think this is less a reality than we inflate it to be). But I do think that knowledge is not meaningful unless it is made both available and accessible beyond the institution.

  10. So many inspiring ideas from the video on open pedagogy. One part that is exciting is that open pedagogy gives access to knowledge for everyone, and the other is that it enhances learning. Since everyone has equal access, everyone can participate, and if everyone can participate, then everyone can feel invested in what we are working on–provided, of course, that what we are working on is relevant to students. I love the idea of non-static content, course materials that keep on changing and growing as more students collaborate and contribute. “Learners as transformers” was a term used in the video which sounds amazing. I have been trying to incorporate open pedagogy assignments into my courses and am always on the lookout for more ideas and improved ideas.
    If I were to introduce open pedagogy to a colleague, I would start with a few questions:
    – Do you want your students to be knowledge creators?
    – Do you want your students to be excited about their class?
    – Do you want your students to have equal access to course materials for free?
    – Do you want your students to create non-disposable assignments?
    – Do you want to collaborate with your students to help them change the world?
    Then: If you answered yes to all or most of the questions, you are ready to embark on the open pedagogy journey.
    If you answered no to most or all of the questions, I would like to share with you some examples of open pedagogy assignments, as well as data about student engagement and success in response to open pedagogy, and then ask those questions again!

  11. I am excited by open pedagogy’s commitments to educational access and equity (and its holistic understanding of access, including and beyond the cost of course materials); intentional engagement of our students as learners and collaborators; the approach to learning as an active process that includes producing and contributing knowledge and scholarly material to the communities/fields in which we/they belong. Questions that I am sitting with are about how we think about what makes an assignment/project meaningful, expansive ways to think about knowledge contribution with respect to audience, and the relationship between process and “product” (and sometimes it seems like the product is emphasized in open pedagogy examples, like the textbook or the wiki entry, so I’m interested in thinking more about how to engage/support/assess effective process as a part of the approach).
    2. Hello, friend! Open pedagogy is an approach to teaching that centers 1) a holistic understanding of educational access and equity, 2) engages students as learners, and 3) connections to our fields as dynamic sites where our students are producers and contributors of knowledge.

  12. – I think Open Pedagogy is very much about finding out what students want and how we can assist them in getting what they want. So much of academia is about making sure that students fit within specific guidelines and learn from traditional models that leave them out. It makes SO much sense that when we teach them what they want, and what THEY say they need to succeed, there are better learning outcomes.

    – In one of my first classes at BMCC, a student found the PDF version of the textbook and shared it with the rest of our class. It was a game changer. I think teaching students how to utilize free resources, in the age of disinformation can benefit them in a number of practical ways.

  13. What jazzes me most about open pedagogy is that it offers a way to unpack what it really means to be “student-centered.” Its focus on collaboration and connection between students, diversity of experiences and learning styles, as well as its being conducive to a democratic process makes it a helpful education frame from which to organize education at community colleges and beyond.

  14. OER is using publicly accessible content and reuses and redistributes content. Using OER we can practice equity and encourage students to. participate more in creating and learning knowledge.
    It also gives me the ability to design my own free course and make it accessible to all students

  15. yazliu

    Open pedagogy is not just OER. It is a way of engaging learners in the process of knowledge creation. Students are receiving but also contributing in the learning process. I also get some ideas to create activities/assignments and redesign my course using this approach.

  16. Nita Noveno

    I was struck by a couple of things here: 1) the presenters’ extension of the idea of a learner-centered class to a learner-co-created class or as the presenters put it: “learner-driven connected” and 2) the highlight of pedagogy growing from the fundamental belief in universal access to education (from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—right on, right on), and how it is a dynamic and ongoing process. I had a limited notion of what a learner co-created class could look like (certain words come to mind: messy, uncontrollable, lack of participation, how would it fit in to the syllabus?). The presenter’s example of her students providing ancillary information for an American literature class anthology provided me a truly inspiring and sharper focus. The possibilities! This example has started me thinking about my own English courses. I’d already been providing free texts to my English composition courses for several years (though there were occasional semesters and certain courses in which I assigned a textbook that students needed to purchase), but the idea of student involvement beyond (or in addition to) Blackboard discussion boards to actually creating texts for the course that can be built on in future classes is compelling. I still get certain copyright/open publication terms confused, but otherwise, this organic definition of open pedagogy is clear. (I’d share my response here about open pedagogy with a colleague.)

  17. I feel a lot of relief finding my way to Open Pedagogy. I think often, I feel like I’m pushing against institutional and cultural educational expectations where I feel disempowered and misunderstood for my students (and myself). I’m drawn to Prof. De Rosa’s idea that students are recognized as legitimate contributors to the “world of knowledge.”

    Open Pedagogy acknowledges that students are experts in their learning–to be agents in how and what they learn. Open Pedagogy is a kind of principal similar to the “system of checks and balances” that that holds the socially assigned and defined dominant power in the classroom, the professor, accountable to their students.

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