Thoughts on Open Pedagogy

At the OE Global meetings I have constantly been thinking about the need for more concrete examples of open pedagogy.  I like the “pre-flight checklist” for open pedagogy, and wanted to contribute a few ideas. Focusing on renewable assignments as open pedagogy, I think there are basically three categories of renewable assignments (though I’m open for correction).

Renewable Assignments that Primarily Benefit the Public

One category of renewable assignments are those that connect with Wikipedia. Clear examples exist, such as “Murder, Madness & Mayhem,” More recently, Azzam taught classes to fourth year medical students over a two year period of time in which editing Wikipedia articles related to medicine was the primary purpose of the class. For additional examples of this type of renewable assignment see this list of Wikipedia related projects and 6% of science edits made by studentsAnother set of open pedagogies that are designed for broader consumption are audiovisual remixes that are designed to both entertain and inform. For example, Blogs and wikis. These versions of open pedagogy are meant to make learning better for the world.

Renewable Assignments that are Primary Course Resources such as Textbooks

A second broad category of renewable assignments concern the creation or revision/remixing of learning resources. For example, Robin de Rosa of Plymouth State University became concerned about the high cost of the textbook in the course she was teaching and created her own textbook (with help!). Another example of this general category is the textbook Project Management for Instructional Designers. This book came about when David Wiley was teaching a course on this topic and found that there was no suitable textbook available. However, there was a pre-existing openly licensed textbook on project management that Wiley was able to collaboratively revise with his students (as part of their coursework) to create a version specifically for instructional designers. They did so by adding examples relevant to educational technology, integrating new video case studies they produced, and making other changes that further improved the book for educational technology students.  Students in future iterations of the course made further revisions and remixes.

Renewable Assignments and Secondary Learning Resources Designed to Improve the Understanding of Future Students

A third category of renewable assignments are secondary learning resources designed to improve the understanding of future students. This is where I think we have a gold mine of future subsets of open pedagogy to identify.  A presentation at this conference showed how student-created OER in a secondary (high school) setting helped to significantly improve student learning.  Jhangiani describes a different approach to a renewable assignments that are designed to improve the learning of future students; namely, an effort he made over the course of a semester to have students taking a Social Psychology class create test questions based on the material they were learning. Student created assignments at DS 106 are another example of this category of open pedagogy.

In addition to the foregoing examples that have already been implemented, there await a host of additional types of renewable assignments that could be undertaken to create secondary learning resources for students. Here are a few ideas that I’ve been brainstorming (maybe they already exist, but I’m not aware of them):

Student Created Worked Examples

Hattie identified worked examples as an educational intervention that provides strong results in student learning. Worked examples provide students with step-by-step templates of how to do problems and are particularly prevalent in math. Students could create additional examples of worked examples, specifically in topics that have proven troublesome to students in past semesters. This approach benefits students who create the worked examples, as creating the worked problems expands and deepens their knowledge. Moreover, it is beneficial for future students who can use these worked examples to help them process difficult topics in future semesters.

Student Created Summaries

Another way that students could create resources that would help future generations of learners is to create summaries of key concepts related to the course. For example, in an English course in which students are studying A Tale of Two Cities, students could create written or video-based presentations that summarize key aspects of the storyline. Such summaries could include identifying symbolism or making connections between events of the book and contemporary society. These summaries could be both used and improved upon by future generations of learners.

Students and New Contexts

One challenge learners face is the transferring knowledge from one domain to another (insert reference). For example, a student may know that the earth revolves around the sun, but may struggle to understand whether this rotation influences the appearance of the moon in the night sky. Students could be assigned to take a principle or concept taught in class and concretely explain it in another context. Such an approach would benefit both current and future learners.

What other ideas do you have for how teachers could implement open pedagogy?