What is Open Pedagogy? David Wiley recently asserted:
“…there’s apparently a temptation to characterize good educational practice as open educational practice.
But that’s not what open means.
As I’ve argued many times, the difference between free and open is that open is “free plus.” Free plus what? Free plus the 5R permissions. … open pedagogy is the set of teaching and learning practices only possible or practical in the context of the 5R permissions. Or, to operationalize, open pedagogy is the set of teaching and learning practices only possible or practical when you are using OER.”
I’m, however, inclined to think about open pedagogy as a philosophy of teaching and learning that in its core, as Maha suggested, has an ethos of sharing and social justice. I’m under the spell of bell hooks right now so I will define open pedagogy as the way she frames it in her book Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope:
Intentional approaches in teaching that encourage students to have “the will to explore different perspectives and change one’s mind as new information is presented” (emphasis mine).
Open pedagogy may include the 5Rs of OER (Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute content), or it may not; the discussion on 5Rs to me is simply an issue of method, not methodology (the broad philosophical orientation to the methods used). Open pedagogy might enable many methods, in other words ways of doing things, to achieve its goals. Take Clint Lalonde’s Digital Humanities students who shared their work online without open licenses, take the awesome open courses offered by the Virginia Commonwealth University (I wrote my dissertation on one of their courses). Are we saying that these educators haven’t been engaging in open pedagogy? That they were using some other method simply because their focus is not on 5Rs?
In a reflective post Sheila Mc Neill posted a resource by Bronwyn Hegarty titled Attributes of Open Pedagogy. This is more comprehensive than Wiley’s framing of open pedagogy but, again, I think there is a confusion here between the application of specific methods (which are context-dependent) and a larger paradigm of teaching and learning centering on sharing and social justice (or sharing for the aim of social justice).
bell hooks writes:
“Throughout my academic career I have sought the spaces of openness, fixing my attention less on the ways colleagues are closed and more and searching for the place of possibility” [for positive change].
What are our “spaces of possibility”? How do we construct those spaces and nurture democratic learning environments where people get exposed to different perspectives, challenge the way they view the world and their position in it? How can we help our students, and one another, have the will to learn enthusiastically and passionately, despite all the difficulties that come with deep learning?
Why does it matter to have this discussion on the meaning of open pedagogy? Because openness is contextual and messy. As Maha says:
“When we call anything “open” we need to clarify: What are we opening, how are we opening it, for whom, and why?”
I’m ending my post with a quote from Rajeev Balasubramanyam or this
rant post will go forever. This piece is on artists’ responses to right wing politics but there is a lot we can apply to education. Rajeev says:
“The artist of faith is able not only to live inside of this uncertainty, but to create from it, to surrender to the unknown and, by doing so, to make peace with it. This is a political act not least because it is the one thing that fundamentalists of every hue will always oppose. Fundamentalists seek to erase uncertainty, to replace the unknown with crass, bludgeoning answers, but the writer of faith gazes into this void with open eyes, even, or perhaps particularly, when she is afraid, seeking to share what she sees with others in who find themselves in similar situations.”
Suzan is a researcher and educator with a PhD in Learning Technologies, Curriculum and Instruction. Suzan’s recent research focuses on gender inequality and feminist theory and practice in open and distance learning. Suzan is on Twitter: @suzanKoseoglu, and occasionally blogs at https://differentreadings.com/