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Open Pedagogy and Open Educational Practices

Learn about an approach to teaching that uses the unique qualities of OER to facilitate student learning

What is Open Pedagogy?

What is Open Pedagogy?

Open pedagogy is an approach to instruction that empowers students to engage with knowledge communities, especially as facilitated by Open Educational Resources (OER). Renewable assignments, a key practice in open pedagogy, ask students to create content for real-world use beyond their class. 

It's important to note that open pedagogy is still a relatively new and evolving concept. "Depending on the source you consult, open pedagogy might be a series of practices, a learning style, or a state of mind." [1]

Open pedagogy is related to OER-enabled pedagogy and Open Educational Practices (OEP). Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. Find a review of OEP definitions in the literature review of this linked article.


1. Elder, A. K. (n.d.). Open Pedagogy. In OER Starter Kit. essay, Iowa State University Digital Press. Retrieved March 2023, from Licensed under CC-BY.

Pedagogical Context

Renewable Assignments in Context

Renewable assignments are a key concept in Open Pedagogy.

This chart helps visualize the overlap and distinction between different pedagogical approaches to assignments, as understood by David Wiley and John Levi Hilton III in their 2018 article, Defining OER-Enabled Pedagogy, licensed under CC-BY.

Chart title Criteria Distinguishing Different Kinds of Assignments shows a comparison between pedagogical assignment approaches.

It shows that authentic, constructionist, and renewable assignments all ask students to create artifacts that have value beyond their own learning. This is notable in contrast to traditional "disposable" assignments which are created, graded, and discarded. The constructionist approach to assignments would also make students' work public, but only with renewable assignments would that work be openly licensed. 

Related Pedagogical Approaches

Open Pedagogy shares common investments with many other historical and contemporary schools of pedagogy. For example, constructivist pedagogy, connected learning, and critical digital pedagogy are all recognizable pedagogical strands that overlap with Open Pedagogy.

From constructivist pedagogy, particularly as it emerged from John Dewey and, in terms of its relationship to technology, from Seymour Papert, there is a similar critique of industrial and automated models for learning, a valuing of experiential and learner-centered inquiry, and a democratizing vision for the educational process. From connected learning, especially as it coheres in work supported by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, there is a similar hope that human connections facilitated by technologies can help learners engage more fully with the knowledge and ideas that shape our world. And from critical digital pedagogy, as developed by Digital Humanities-influenced thinkers at Digital Pedagogy Lab out of educational philosophy espoused by scholars such as Paulo Freire and bell hooks, there is a similar commitment to diversity, collaboration, and structural critique of both educational systems and the technologies that permeate them.

This section is adapted from ThinqPress Year-1 by Brad Hinson which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Student Intellectual Property, Privacy, and Ethical Considerations

While renewable assignments offer an exciting opportunity to engage students in knowledge creation, they also create some complex questions about student privacy and agency because the work is shared publicly and usually openly licensed.

Explore these resources to see how other instructors navigate concerns like FERPA.

Tools for Open Pedagogy

Are you creating a renewable assignment?

If you are creating a renewable assignment, consider telling a librarian!

Librarians may be able to support you and your students or provide useful resources. 

Creative Commons License for This Work

Open Pedagogy Resources

Introduction to Open Pedagogy

Applying Open Pedagogy


These are a few highlighted research articles about open pedagogy.

When looking for more, consider journals like Open Praxis. The Open Education Group provides a review of empirical open pedagogy research. Their publication page may also be helpful.


Educators share their experiences and thoughts about open pedagogical practices in these resources.

Recorded Professional Development

Explore More

These are guides from other universities about open pedagogy.

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