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Open Pedagogy

This guide for instructors interested in adopting a student-contribution-oriented pedagogical approach.

Open Pedagogy

“Open Pedagogy" ...  is a site of praxis, a place where theories about learning, teaching, technology, and social justice enter into a conversation with each other and inform the development of educational practices and structures.
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Open Pedagogy Notebook

Open Pedagogy: WHAT. Communities (not just content), Learner-Driven Education (not just assignments), Access (not just textbooks), Public Contexts (not just preparation)
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa

What Is Open Pedagogy?

“Open pedagogy, variously defined, comprises a number of core tenets: agency of students in their own learning, creative or innovative ways of learning, and participatory technological tools that enable community learner-generated outcomes."
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)  Open Pedagogy Approaches

Open pedagogy is a type of experiential learning that allows students to take command of their education by creating their own scholarly materials. Instead of passively absorbing knowledge, adopting open pedagogy means that students are actively contributing to knowledge-making. Though not always or necessarily the case, open pedagogy is often coupled with openly licensed materials, meaning that the work students do in the class will go on to help other students in future classes or even the greater academic community at large.

Open pedagogy assignments are shared outside of the context of a classroom. They come in many forms from creating blogs and websites to editing or adding Wikipedia articles to setting up on-campus events. Some professors have the students develop open education resources (OER) like textbooks. Some choose to get students in contact with other scholars and academics through social media platforms like Twitter.

Open pedagogy: habits and values. There are four circles labeled, "access & equity," "community & connection," "opportunity & risk," and "agency & ownership" respectively. There are also four other boxes between those that read "empathy," "participation," "cuirosity," and "responsibility." In the middle, it reads "Open Pedagogy."
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)   "Open pedagogy: habits and values" from The Values of Open Pedagogy by Caroline Sinkinson

The focus of open pedagogy is manifold. Underlying its approach to classroom curricula are four principles:

  • Access and equity: Commitment to reducing barriers that prevent equitable access to education, including economic, technical, social, cultural, and political factors.
  • Community and connection: Commitment to facilitating connections across the boundaries of learning, experience, viewpoints, classrooms, campuses, communities, and countries.
  • Agency and ownership: Commitment to protecting agency and ownership of one's own learning experiences, choices of expression, and degrees of participation.
  • Risk and responsibility: Commitment to interrogating tools and practices that mediate learning, knowledge building, and sharing that resist the treatment of open as neutral.
    Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) Taken from The Values of Open Pedagogy by Caroline Sinkinson


HSU Spotlight

We Can Help

More Places to Learn

These resources are invaluable assets for those interested in learning more about open pedagogy, dense with both theory and also practical advice from people who have used open pedagogy practices in their classes.

Want Your Own Work Featured?

If you're an instructor at HSU and you want your open pedagogy project(s) featured on the research guide, follow this link to fill out a form with all the pertinent information we'll need to highlight you and your students' hard work.

Copyright Information

The content of this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license unless otherwise specified.

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 license


The Open Pedagogy Research Guide was developed by Cole Shepard for the HSU Affordable Learning Solutions program.