Open pedagogy is an approach to teaching that has emerged from the open education movement. It aims to make learning more accessible, learner driven, and connected. Open pedagogy gives learners the space to create something that will be used by someone else. This approach is the alternative to what David Wiley has referred to as “disposable assignments” that students spend a few hours working on, faculty spend time grading, and then students throw away once the course is over.
Open pedagogy is different from open practices, which include sharing, giving feedback, testing new ideas, applying open licenses, and giving credit to people whose ideas or resources you use. These practices support open pedagogy, but they don’t always put the student in such an active role. However, both open practices and open pedagogy are made possible by the permissions that are granted through open Creative Commons licenses: making copies, adapting, and distributing resources as part of a community.
One source for information about open pedagogy is the Open Pedagogy Notebook, edited by Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa, who have shaped and advanced the discussion about this subject. In the notebook, they describe the theory behind open pedagogy and provide open pedagogy case studies authored by faculty from different fields.
In these case studies, students develop a variety of products, either on their own, in teams, or alongside their teacher: course goals, multiple choice question banks, introductions for anthologies, wiki articles, peer assessments, and syllabi. The assignments allow students a large role in determining their learning, but it’s important to note that they are still carefully scaffolded so that students understand what is expected of them and are not pushed beyond their capacity. These projects require some experimentation and may reveal the messy process of learning, but they have the potential to provide students with experience and knowledge that they can apply in many other facets of their lives.
In a blog post on Digital Pedagogy Lab, Jhangiani and DeRosa also point out that open pedagogy can reflect social justice ideals, first because it is an alternative to expensive textbooks. Just as important, it positions knowledge as co-constructed between learners and instructors, rather than a one way transfer from instructor to student.
Here are some open pedagogy projects for language learning that put the students in the role of creators:
- Kelly Arispe and Amber Hoye lead the Boise State University Department of World Languages’ Pathways OER Language Teaching Repository, an open collection of instructional materials and professional development created by and uniquely for Idaho’s K-16 language teachers and students. Participating teachers and students come from different fields of study to create open digital activities that support the teaching and learning of foreign languages and promote intercultural competence.
- Anna Comas-Quinn and Mara Fuertes Gutiérrez tasked students with translating the subtitles of a TED or TEDx talk of their choice, reviewing and providing feedback on their peers’ translations, and taking part in the online subtitling community.
- Lionel Mathieu, Kathryn Murphy-Judy, Robert Godwin-Jones, Laura Middlebrooks, and Natalia Boykova developed a multiphasic project where 202 students curate authentic materials online, upper level students sort and scaffold the curations into online modules, and students discuss curations with native speakers. This will eventually culminate in the creation of open textbooks featuring the authentic materials and modules.
- Ewan McAndrew and Lorna Campbell led their translation Studies MSc students at the University of Edinburgh to take part in a Wikipedia translation assignment as part of their independent study component.
- Jon Beasley-Murray and the University of British Columbia‘s class SPAN312 (“Murder, Madness, and Mayhem: Latin American Literature in Translation”) contributed to Wikipedia during Spring 2008. The collective goals were to bring a selection of articles on Latin American literature to featured article status (or as near as possible). By project’s end, they had contributed three featured articles and eight good articles.
- Jeannette Okur taught her students to use collaborative Google Docs and Aegisub Advanced Subtitling Editor software to create and add original English subtitles to three classic Turkish films
- Julie Ann Ward developed the antholgy “Antología abierta de literatura hispana” with her students, and piloted it with collaborating instructors and students
Public facing student projects could also include student presentations at public meetings, campus public service campaigns, or the publication and dissemination of student-authored zines, to name a few other ideas from the open pedagogy notebook.
Now, what can you create with your students?