15 Familiarity With Open Pedagogy, Principles and Practices

Openness in education brings potential for co-creation and learning through active participation in knowledge production. The diagram below outlines the benefits of open pedagogy which go beyond student affordability and encourage flexibility for teaching staff by enabling instructors to customise their teaching materials to fit course learning outcomes.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Reducing barriers that prevent equitable access to education, including economic, technical, social, cultural, and political factors
  • Treating education as a learner-driven process where students have more agency, authority, and ownership over what they are learning
  • Giving students the opportunity to contribute meaningful work in an authentic way
  • Valuing community and collaboration
  • Facilitating connections that transcend classrooms, communities, and viewpoints
  • Valuing openness and transparency.[1]

These actions create the opportunity to provide more relevant and engaging materials for students and subsequently allow for the convergence of technology, learning, teaching, equity and social justice.

Serving Social Justice & Transforming Pedagogy


The benefits of open pedagogy beyond affordability into access as a social justice issue, improving outcomes and student empowerment.
(“Serving Social Justice & Transforming Pedagogy”by Forsythe, G is in the Public Domain, CC0)


In an example of open pedagogy, Jessica Kruger PhD shares her story about writing a textbook with students at the University of Buffalo. [2]

Open Pedagogy (7:56 min)

“Open Pedagogy” by Martha Greatrix is licensed under CC BY 4.0 


Lastly, a blog post by Travis Wall from Pressbooks outlines examples of OER that are student-led. Educators can apply open pedagogical principles by allowing students to contribute to the creation of an open work, such as a collection of essays, a research project or a textbook used by future students. Students are empowered by this action as they become part of the teaching process and feel a greater connection to the course material because of their contributions.[3]

Understanding open principles and pedagogy

Do you remember when smartphones were first released? They were full of infinite possibilities compared to earlier phones. Before smartphones, we could only call and text. After smartphones, we now take videos and pictures, play movies and music, surf the web and read email, and call and text. Some long-time users of older phones had difficulty taking advantage of all the capabilities offered by new phones. They were too accustomed to the limitations of older phones. In some cases, these users only called and texted on their smartphones. (Maybe you know someone like this!) Many educators have a similar problem with OER. They’ve used education materials published under restrictive licenses for so long that they struggle to take advantage of the new pedagogical capabilities offered by OER. Open pedagogy, open practices, and OER-enabled pedagogy are all about teaching and learning practices and the tools that empower teachers and learners to access, create and share knowledge openly and learn deeply.

Three Definitions

The open education movement is still discussing and debating what it means to think about teaching and learning practices in a more inclusive, diverse, and open manner. At least three major definitions have emerged from this discussion.

Open education practices:

  • Use, reuse, and creation of OER and collaborative, pedagogical practices employing social and participatory technologies for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and sharing, and empowerment of learners[4]

Open pedagogy:

  • An access-oriented commitment to learner-driven education and a process of designing architectures and using tools for learning that enable learners to shape the public knowledge commons of which they are a part.[5]
  • Read more in the Open Pedagogy Notebook.

OER-enabled pedagogy:

  • A set of teaching and learning practices only possible or practical when you have permission to engage in the 5Rs[6]


In the following video David Gaertner, an instructor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia, explains that it is important for his students to have the opportunity to create work with a broader impact that can live beyond the classroom walls. Rather than focusing on writing solely for the educator, Gaertner wants his students to consider different audiences and develop their own voices.[7]

Read more about how David has engaged his students.

Open Dialogues: How to engage and support students in open pedagogies (3:05 min)

(“Open Dialogues: How to engage and support students in open pedagogies” by Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of British Columbia is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 )

  1. McLean, S. (n.d.). Teaching with educational resources. https://www.oercommons.org/courseware/lesson/58897/overview?section=9CC BY 4.0
  2. Greatrix, M. (2019, April 17). Open Pedagogy [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/dNm6cdWuKtY  CC BY 4.0
  3. Wall, T. (2022, 19 January). Student-led OER to inspire and engage your class. https://pressbooks.com/open-education/student-led-oer-to-inspire-and-engage-your-class/
  4. Cronin, C. & MacLaren, I. (2018) Conceptualising OEP: A review of the theoretical & empirical literaturehttps://drive.google.com/file/d/1DEo5_maFewNJhSHZ9UNoBv6104ip_30J/view
  5. DeRosa, R. & Ravi, J. (2017) Open pedagogy. In A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students. Rebus Community. https://press.rebus.community/makingopentextbookswithstudents/chapter/open-pedagogy/  CC-BY 4.0
  6. Wiley, D. (n.d.). Defining the "open" in open content and open educational resources. https://opencontent.org/definition/ CC-BY 4.0
  7. Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of British Columbia. (2018, January 30). Open Dialogues: How to engage and support students in open pedagogies. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/PGVzKqvKhQw CC-BY-SA 4.0


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

OER Capability Toolkit Copyright © 2022 by RMIT University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book