#intro2opened Why Open Pedagogy?

This week, we’ve been talking about Open Pedagogies. Now, the word open gets thrown around a lot so applying it to pedagogies warrants an explanation for what exactly that means.

David Wiley, on his blog, defines open pedagogy as:

“What makes this assignment an instance of open pedagogy instead of just another something we require students to do? As described, the assignment is impossible without the permissions granted by open licenses. This is the ultimate test of whether or not a particular approach or technique can rightly be called “open pedagogy” – is it possible without the free access and 4R permissions characteristic of open educational resources? If the answer is yes, then you may have an effective educational practice but you don’t have an instance of open pedagogy. Open pedagogy is that set of teaching and learning practices only possible in the context of the free access and 4R permissions characteristic of open educational resources.”

This means that open pedagogy takes advantage of the now 5 R permissions to retain, reuse, remix, revise, and redistribute course materials. But what can this actually do for students.

Well, in its simplest forms, it can help build quality content. If we are adopting open textbooks in a way that we just print them out and use them in our classroom, we are ignoring the potential impact that OER can have in our classroom. If we draw in different sources of openly licensed content, fill it with our own information that will glue content together, and present it to our students in a way that meaningfully follows course design. That is where we start to go wheels up with open.

When we truly embrace Open Pedagogy, we begin to find ways to use OER and our community in a partnership that can inspire meaningful learning experiences.

Maybe a student writes a blog post about a book they read and the author of the book comments back. See, Bryan Jackson’s classroom blog for more about this story. This is a meaningful learning experience that can help the student think critically about their reading and reflection. This would not happen in an LMS. Maybe a student a link to a video they created and it gets retweeted 10,000 times. As a result of this, many people engage in a discussion regarding the video and the student and community gain further understanding of the topic. There are many ways in which open pedagogy and embracing the benefits of community and sharing can enhance teaching and learning.

I worry though, about the ability for open pedagogy to gain traction amongst teachers who don’t hold high the values that the open community holds dear.

There are three questions, or maybe concerns that I have with open pedagogy:

  1. Are these success stories of openness and community the exception, or the rule? Are we replicating the LMS experience online and calling it more than it is? I hope not, but I have seen this to be true many times.
  2. How do we get faculty members who are stuck in their ways to uproot their teaching principles without them knowing that this can really impact their course learning outcomes?
  3. What are the ethical implications of expecting our students to share data online and pushing upon them a digital identity that may be fragmented from their own? How do we grapple with these questions and does this concern have a right or wrong answer?

I have high hope for the future of open pedagogy, but I think there are some concerns that are barriers to the adoption of open pedagogy more widely.

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