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. 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.


  1. I really enjoyed the post “Why have students answer questions when they can write them?”. When thinking about different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, having learners create and peer evaluate questions pushes learners into the highest levels of that taxonomy. In doing so, students are challenged not just to understand and apply the knowledge, but to synthesize and evaluate it. This isn’t something that I considered doing in my class until now. I certainly see the value in it as a practice, and will figure out a way to incorporate it into my class for the fall semester.

    1. I too really appreciate the idea of having students write their own questions. I feel like they will generate more comprehensive and in depth questions that will connect their ultimate goals than I could create for them. I also like the idea of learners challenging one another, it feels like a real authentic investment in learning, growing and ultimately transforming.

  2. I use open pedagogy in my public speaking course in that students choose their own speech topics and can use the various speech formats to share and educate about topics important to them. I would like to take this a step further in having the students work in teams to create educational videos bringing each chapter and its key components to life rather than answering quiz questions. I also think adding in more use of media other than slides would be of value. Perhaps using the course as a forum for the students to create a website for themselves that includes a professional profile (Intro speech via video) and then incorporates the speeches within the website so they have a professional resource to continue to design and develop as they work toward their career goals.

  3. Like Jason and Christina, I also was struck by the idea of having students write their own multiple choice questions. What an excellent way for them to master the material and have some agency in their learning experience! That is something that I might consider doing, but I have other ideas as well. From what I have learned so far, I have been incorporating some open pedagogy in my social problems class by having students decide some of the topics that we cover but this fall I would like to take this further. I was particularly interested in some of the examples of students creating textbooks or websites on topics related to their course material. In my upcoming social problems course I will include sessions on pandemics/COVID-19 as well as police violence and the protest that we are seeing now. I am considering having students create websites/resources on these topics (particularly how they relate to and affect our student population) that I might use in future social problems classes or make accessible to the broader BMCC community.

  4. Browsing through these pages and the assignments I have done so far for this workshop, I came upon 2 possible assignments for students of social welfare policy: 1) have students pick an object in their home and describe how it represents a social welfare policy issue. I have to confess when I first saw that assignment I found myself feeling that it was an exercise in imagination. But as I started to draw links in my mind, I really felt I could connect two macro level issues using a simple object in my environment. 2) have students create a 3-minute video explaining a policy (e.g. civil rights act, social security act etc.) in simple language while giving as much detail as possible on the mission of the policy, its history and its impact so far and then ask the class 3 questions about that policy.

  5. Chad Flinn‘s “A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way” hit home for me, as two students stayed after class to confide things that were exceptionally difficult for them to deal with outside of school. Here’s my bias: I’ve been extremely fortunate, both in the experiences I’ve had with teachers and professors being empathetic when situations outside of the classroom have affected my ability to concentrate, produce satisfactory work, or in certain instances even show up. My situations were difficult, sure, but the situations our students are facing are in some cases much more dire, much more immediate, and much more threatening than I faced as a young person. I try to approach my students with open ears and as much empathy as possible, because I will never understand what it’s like to be in their shoes or to face what they face, but I can provide a safe place to land a few times each week.

    A fellow BMCC professor, Hollis Glazer, wrote a blog post about making sure assignments are meaningful to students, and less about how technically perfect they are. I give my students an up-front schedule of due dates and assignments, but I’m flexible when things come up, and when they need more context, time, or feedback to make an assignment meaningful, instead of a regurgitation of what they read or watched.

  6. Anchalee

    After watching the open pedagogy video, I became more intrigued and wanted look for more information and navigate on all the different open pedagogy websites.

    I enjoy finding new ways to teach and engage with our students. Many of our students come from different educational backgrounds and many students are not buying the required textbooks due to financial or personal reasons. I am excited to create different types of assignments in ways in which all students can apply, attain, create, engage, and understand concepts they have learned and become more active and open to learning new material.

    Students playing a key part in creating their own exam questions is a great idea and I plan on using this upcoming semester.

  7. Anchalee Sungkakitkorane

    I agree, we live in a society where education and learning materials are readily accessible; why not use these methods to enhance how students learn and improve student learning outcomes. I would like to utilize the idea of my students playing a key part in creating their own exam questions.

    In addition to learning about the different open pedagogy resources and creating different assignments; I feel it is a great way for students to apply and understand the concepts they have learned.

  8. Anchalee Sungkakitkorane

    What is open pedagogy?

    Open pedagogy is an ongoing method of teaching and learning that is accessible to everyone with the integration of technology and education, that helps individuals or students connect, contribute to what they have learned, but also apply those concepts and ideas not only in an educational setting, within a society, and on a personal level.

  9. In my Spanish as a foreign language class, we read various NYC tourist guides on the internet, but almost none of them mention interesting facts, historical places or general information about the neighborhoods my students live in. We discuss this in class, and come up with our own guide. I’d love to do this in an open format, available for any tourist looking for information about NYC beyond Manhattan.

  10. I’ll briefly mention two assignments I’ve been using for years that I hope to develop further using some of the tools we’re discovering here.

    In teaching literature, I think it’s important to get students into the habit of “writing back” to the texts they encounter, so I tend to require weekly reading responses (usually in the form of discussion postings). I like the idea of collecting these regular contributions into a non-static reading and writing journal that students can share, annotate, and possibly remix over the course of the semester. My hope is that they’ll leave with something tangible (a kind of portfolio, a sounding-board, perhaps a seedbed for works-in-progress or ideas for future projects): a document that belong to them rather than solely to the course. The last day of class could involve going over these journals to chart the evolution of their thoughts and feelings. I’ve found that this kind of summing up and reflection during final meetings (“Look at how far you’ve come: let’s take some time to look over our syllabus and talk about how much ground we’ve covered and just how much you’ve read. What’s different about you now?”) can be especially effective at cementing a sense of accomplishment and motivating students to tackle more advanced material.

    The second assignment, also usually an end-of-semester affair, will need a bit more explanation from me during our synchronous session, but I think it will benefit from some of the platforms and tools and tactics we’re considering. As I transition from the “novel” section of my course to the “drama” section, I like to have students pick out an especially important scene from our novel (at BMCC it’s *Dracula*) and think about how they’d adapt it for the stage or screen. They work in groups and produce a miniature treatment or script, then present it (or act it out) at the end of the semester. This gives us a chance to talk as a class about what each group has changed from the source material, which elements needed to remain the same, and how we might imagine “producing” their vision. I’ve been doing this for years and have had all sorts of creative responses, but of course we’re limited quite a bit by having to do the best we can with whatever happens to be at hand in a standard BMCC classroom. Students enjoy the total creative freedom (I tell them they can alter *any* aspect of their scene so long as they can justify their particular adaptation to the class), and it generates fruitful discussion about how scenes work in the service of larger narrative ends. I’m interested in opening it further by giving students access to a broader range of technologies.

    1. I’m curious, Adrian, do you also answer the question at the end of the semester: “What’s different about you now?” Thinking it would be interesting to hear how you may have changed through encountering the texts with this group of students. I think bringing technologies to the second could be really interesting.

      1. Yes, I try to include myself whenever I ask questions like this. I do my best to make students cognizant of the fact that courses are works in motion rather than fixed bodies of material, so I like to discuss what I’ve changed, learned, how earlier iterations of the class have gone, and so on.

  11. I’ve started experimenting with “open annotated bibliographies” in my history course, and have noticed that students appreciate the opportunity to fill in the blanks (thesis/nutshell of a work they are annotating that’s from my list), and add on their own work, by explaining the crux of the matter at hand, and why their proposed work relates to the previous. I was at first apprehensive at this extended basis of knowledge, but we grew to trust each other to catch the nuances of initial set readings to bring onboard new knowledge. Such collaborative engagement makes the whole project became alive, and interesting, a living compendium of course-generated questions and (alternative) answers.

      1. Jean, they live in the course… that ends at each semester. Yes, thinking of what to do with these… Adrian V. has a proposal to keep his live, and build on them. I suppose that’s the way to go about – I’d think of choosing the most representative ones and keep them as examples/building blocks for a new semester course participant to work with. Could even be on the Open Lab page of my course (I write this after having had some weeks to think about what exactly to do with the many inviting options for the application of what I’ve learned in this course, and from the cohort.

  12. I like to give a lot of peer group work, and in the ENG 101 curriculum we read, annotate, summarize and discuss a lot of readings in preparation for the departmental final writing exam. One way I could use open education in the fall is to have the student use hypothesis to annotate the supplemental readings – each group would be responsible for a different reading. Then each group would return to the class and present their annotations, and the rest of the learners would ask them questions. The presenters would be the experts who know their selected readings in and out. I’ve done something like this last fall, but with pen and paper. Now on this new platform, the learners can use the technology available to them. The goal here is for the learners to be collaborative and build on their strengths (making connections, asking questions, etc. – most learners usually know more and can connect more to the readings than they give themselves credit.

  13. C.B.

    I envision allowing the learners to build their own midterm exam with emphasis on demonstrating successful application of Bloom’s Taxonomy principles (after a brief intro) in hopes of introducing meta-analysis of open pedagogy and instruction. This skill could be further developed by including application of patient centered learning in regard to disease. This is immensely important in clinical practice where they will be instructing the patient, who would also benefit from an open pedagogical approach for therapeutic strategies to improve well being.

  14. Joe Heissan

    I was drawn more to two of the sample open pedagogy assignments. The first was the one where the students developed an annotated bibliography, which I could see them doing when developing formal, in-class presentation. Such an assignment could encourage students to share credible resources and collaborate with each other on these presentation projects. After these presentations, this annotated bibliography could then benefit audience members who wanted to explore some of these topics in greater depth. The second was the assignment where students wrote their own questions for quizzes. This might encourage more students to keep pace with the readings, as well as engage with the material more deeply. It could also give me opportunities to see how well students making up the questions actually understand the materials.

  15. One way I might use open pedagogy in my precalculus course is this:

    I am thinking of assigning “open” DESMOS activities to my students, in these activities, students do not have to be right or wrong, instead, they are given challenges that can be figured out in different ways, at the end of the activity, students are asked to create their own challenges, they go through it themselves first and next they ask their classmates to go over them, in a way students end up creating their own activities, which translates into “creation of knowledge” in some form.

  16. Al Eisenbarth

    i love the idea of having students build their own question bank. This feels like a great way to connect what they are being evaluated on to what they care about. I need to do more thinking on this.

  17. Yolande Brener

    I really enjoyed reading a student’s perspective in the essay, “What Open Education Taught Me.” I try to reliably use the ideas that teachers are also learning and that we are all contributing to the existing body of knowledge. I would like to adapt the Who Am I project in the existing English 101 shell so that each student not only writes about their own identity, but finds a way to write a piece in which they respond to the identity of one other member of the class they don’t know yet, and find the similarities and differences between them.

  18. The course I’m focusing on this month is THE 100: Introduction to Theatre.

    Typically I have students see a play outside of class and write an analysis that compares/contrasts the play with a historical theatrical style and analyzes the possible meanings behind the creative choices. Instead I’m thinking about replacing , or modifying, that assignment to have students create a public facing anthology of their own personal narratives, analyses, and artistic creations.

  19. Sorry, I am late to post here; I am still struggling to figure this out… I would love to truly let my course be learner driven and to shift the power dynamics in my course so that I am not seen as the gatekeeper of knowledge. I have started “ungrading” to focus on feedback and learning. I want to think of ways the students can identify what they want to know/ learn/ take away from a course and then we determine how to document that. Again, not sure what that could or would look like. I am not sure about editing wikis or creating OER textbooks. I will look into zines. I also want to emphasis the process of learning versus the product. Trying to wrap my head around this…

  20. I would like to see students creating content for others to learn the structure of Standard American English but also the structure of students’ own English(es) and have all be honored. I’m making baby steps in this direction, but I guess the first big step is thinking about this more deeply on my own and with students. As a white male from a privileged socio-economic and educational background, I feel I learned so much about English and language from BMCC students. I’d like to use Open Ped to keep the sharing going.

  21. I haven’t worked out all the “hows” yet, but – picking up a bit on ideas from colleagues, above – I would like to find a way to make my students’ work in Critical Thinking 100 class somewhat of a portfolio with a self-reflection at the end of the semester involved. Two, I think that I could use the website, hypothes to good effect as a tool in the ongoing mission to get students to engage with their readings.

    Other thoughts:

    1) Just for reference, all of my students at BMCC are first-year or pre-first-year, as I teach in the Department of Academic Literacy and Linguistics. I’ve noticed that most of my students lack any sense that their writing is a representation of themselves – that it bears any importance or that it reflects on them. OER represents an opportunity for me to think about how to design assignment(s) that could help to make the students see and feel that their writing, or product, is important and is a reflection on themselves. I hope to explore how WordPress and any other ways of publishing the work in a wider community can accomplish this.

    2) Students at a community college today don’t share the common ground and solid comfort zone of some shared knowledge (unpopular word, I know) or familiarity with certain subjects. With nonnative English speaking students there is even more of a space to bridge. Students do have knowledge of their own cultures, often, and the histories and present-day controversies of those cultures. To work with this situation, I would like to find a way to make one of the students essays or projects more of a free choice so that they can take a topic they may already know about and explore of it.

    What will be a challenge for me, though, as their instructor, is how to guide the students through these topics, what limits to set, how the work can still be community-related, and how I as instructor can guide students in it. If students decide to write an essay, for example, on a controversial issue in their home country, then we enter into all the difficulties of: I don’t know much about that issue; because I don’t know much about it, I may “approve” a topic that is actually not workable; their classmates are unfamiliar with the topic; the project therefore becomes highly individual with less opportunity to share resources with classmates; there is less opportunity for me as instructor to develop engaging activities and scaffolding activities out of this that I can sharpen from semester to semester because the project becomes (?) more like an independent study.

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