16 Open Pedagogy and Impact

The open licences applied to OER allow instructors to adapt and integrate materials into their classes in new ways, incorporating topics of local interest or translating content into another language. Instructors who teach graduate-level courses or courses in niche subject areas are often drawn to OER for two reasons:

  1. They can adapt existing materials to meet the specific needs of their class.
  2. They can share created materials with other instructors in their subject area around the world.

Developing new OER can be incredibly impactful, especially for instructors who feel they are underserved by the traditional textbook model and market.

Open pedagogy

Using OER in the classroom can make it easier for students to access and interact with course materials. However, another major aspect of open education asks not “what you teach with” but “how you teach”. The set of pedagogical practices that include engaging students in content creation and making learning accessible is known as open pedagogy.

As DeRosa and Jhangiani explain, “one key component of open pedagogy might be that it sees access, broadly writ, as fundamental to learning and to teaching, and agency as an important way of broadening that access.”[1]

DeRosa and Robison expand on this topic, explaining that:

students asked to interact with OER become part of a wider public of developers, much like an open-source community. We can capitalize on this relationship between enrolled students and a broader public by drawing in wider communities of learners and expertise to help our students find relevance in their work, situate their ideas into key contexts, and contribute to the public good.”[2]


Depending on the source you consult, open pedagogy might be a series of practices, a learning style, or a state of mind.

For the sake of this chapter, open pedagogy is defined as a series of practices which involve engaging students in a course through the development, adaptation, or use of open educational resources.

One method of engaging in open pedagogy is the development of renewable assignments, assignments which students create for the purpose of sharing and releasing as OER. These can range in content from individual writing assignments in Wikipedia to collaboratively written textbooks.[3] [4]

Wiley and Hilton[5] compiled the criteria in the table below to distinguish between different kinds of assignments, from least to most open. You can explore more examples of open pedagogy in action in the Open Pedagogy Notebook.

Wiley and Hilton’s Criteria Distinguishing Different Kinds of Assignments

Student creates an artefact The artefact has value beyond supporting its creator’s learning The artefact is made public The artefact is openly licensed
Disposable assignments Yes No No No
Authentic assignments Yes Yes No No
Constructionist assignments Yes Yes Yes No
Renewable assignments Yes Yes Yes Yes

(Adapted from “Defining OER-Enabled Pedagogy” by David Wiley, & John Levi Hilton III is licensed under CC BY 4.0)

Tools for implementing renewable assignments:

  • Hypothes.is: One of the tools commonly used for open pedagogy projects is Hypothes.is. Hypothes.is allows users to annotate websites and online readings easily. Using hypothes.is can let students engage with your course readings and each other in a more interactive way than discussion boards might allow.
  • Wikibooks: Wikibooks and WikiEdu are both excellent tools for working with students to create a text. Alternatively, short student projects, such as annotated bibliographies, can be done via Wikipedia by adding context and citations to short or underdeveloped articles. This not only gives students the opportunity to get experience explaining concepts for a public audience, it also increases the available public knowledge on your course topic!
  • Google Drive: Google Drive provides a variety of tools that can be used for collaboration on text-based projects as well as slideshows and spreadsheets.
  • YouTube: Student-made instructional videos or class projects can be incredibly useful to showcase for future students in the class or to use as supplemental materials for explaining difficult concepts.

  1. DPL Vancouver. (n.d.) Open pedagogy and social justice. http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/open-pedagogy-social-justice/
  2. DeRosa, R., & Robison, S. (2017). From OER to open pedagogy: Harnessing the power of open. In R. Jhangiani & R. Biswas-Diener (Eds.), Open: the Philosophy and practices that are revolutionizing education and science (pp. 115-124) Ubiquity Press. https://doi.org/10.5334/bbc.i CC BY 4.0
  3. Open Pedagogy Notebook: Sharing Practices Building Communities. (2018). Student-created open "Textbooks" as Course Communities, http://openpedagogy.org/course-level/student-created-open-textbooks-as-course-communities/ CC BY 4.0
  4. Open Pedagogy Notebook: Sharing Practices Building Communities. (2018). Editing Wikipedia in the classroom: Individualized open pedagogy at scale. http://openpedagogy.org/course-level/editing-wikipedia-in-the-classroom-individualized-open-pedagogy-at-scale/  CC BY 4.0
  5. Wiley, D., & Hilton III, J. L. (2018). Defining OER-enabled pedagogy. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(4). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i4.3601 CC BY 4.0


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