Tag Archives: open pedagogy

Open Education in the 60s and 70s

icon of footprints with three arrows at the top, pointing in different direction, indicating the concept of choice

Learner choice and autonomy as important to open education in the 60s and 70s. Icon purchased from The Noun Project.

As I’ve been thinking lately about open pedagogy (see all posts on this blog with that tag), I’ve been looking back over some of what others have said about it, and was reminded that a couple of people in the last year have talked about how “open education” has been used/defined in the past and how some of that appears similar to how “open pedagogy” is used today. In this post I dig into some of the earlier work that other people have pointed to, in order to try to understand at least a little bit about some of the history of these concepts, while fully recognizing this is only a tiny taste of what is likely out there.

The things I’ve seen lately from others are from Tannis Morgan (Open Pedagogy and a Very Brief History of the Concept) and Vivien Rolfe (slides for “Open. But not for criticism?” ). Looking at these led me down a bit of a rabbit hole about the open education movement in England & North America in the 60s and 70s. I start here with a bit of general background on the movement, and then look at some of the things Morgan & Rolfe point to.

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Open pedagogy, Open Educational Practices

Venn diagram with open learning and teaching practices in one cirlce and qualities of open learning content in another. Where they cross is called open educational resources (OER)

From Open Practices Briefing Paper (Beetham et al., 2012). Licensed CC BY-NC 3.0

 

This post is part of my reflection on an upcoming talk I’m giving at Douglas College about open pedagogy: “What’s Open about Open Pedagogy?” In my previous post I started collecting some examples of activities that people have put under the umbrella of open pedagogy. In an earlier post I collated a number of definitions of open pedagogy, and in my next post I plan to dig more deeply into what I think open pedagogy is and what might be “open” about it.

Here I’m going to do a short reflection on possible differences between “open pedagogy” and “open educational practices” (OEP). I have used open pedagogy and OEP interchangeably in the past, and I’m now thinking it might be helpful to consider where they might differ.

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Open pedagogy: examples of class activities

An upcoming talk I’m giving

On October 26 I’m giving a talk at Douglas College in the Vancouver, BC (Canada) area, with the title: “What’s Open about Open Pedagogy?” It’s part of Douglas College’s Open Access Week events.

I brainstorm by writing, and I figured I might as well share my rough thoughts with others in case they find any of it useful. I’ll also share the slides from the talk here on my blog when they’re finished. I expect things will change significantly once my thoughts get from the rough brainstorm form to the slides!

I’m thinking at the moment of an outline for the talk along these lines (with an intro as yet unspecified, talking about why it’s useful to discuss this at all):

  1. What are some examples of things that people have called “open pedagogy”?
  2. How have others defined open pedagogy? What do I think?
    • I’ve already had a lot to say about this in a series of blog posts earlier this year. You can see links to all of them in the last post, called “Navigating Open Pedagogy part 2.”
    • What are the relationships between open pedagogy, open educational practices, students as producers, and students as partners?
  3. What’s open about open pedagogy?
    • What does “open” seem to mean, such that it can cover open access, open data, open science, open government, open pedagogy… (this is a gigantic topic in and of itself; I won’t be able to do it justice but I’ll make a start)
    • Does that fit the views of open pedagogy from (1) and (2)?
    • does any of this change our views of “open pedagogy”?

Oh my…now that I write that out, I think: this is going to be too much for a one-hour talk plus Q&A afterwards. This could probably be a book. Oh well…let’s see what comes out of my brainstorming and whether it’s feasible.

In this post I am just collating a few examples of what people have called “open pedagogy” activities in classes.

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Navigating open pedagogy, part 2

many different colours of embroidery thread, tangled together

Trying to pull together stray threads. Threads image licensed CC0 on pixabay.com

This is the last (for now) in a series of posts over the last couple of days on open pedagogy. Previous posts:

  • Part 1, where I do some not terribly focused reflecting on some recent posts on open pedagogy, as well as my own view before reading them (warning: long!)
  • Part 1.5, where I consider: why try to define open pedagogy at all?

This post is dedicated to trying to pull together some of the threads from what I’ve read in the last two days.

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Why define open pedagogy?

This is a kind of addendum to my last post, where I did some summarizing of and reflecting on a few definitions of open pedagogy given on blogs and elsewhere lately.

When I first heard about the flurry of blog posts on open pedagogy, and the disagreements on how to define it, I thought: why do we need to spend so much time arguing about the definition? Why is it so important to focus on how to define it?

black and white image of a fence along an urban road

Do we need a fence around open pedagogy? Fence image licensed CC0 on pixabay.com

One of the first posts I read during this flurry was by Jim Groom: “I don’t need permission to be open.” There, among other things, he wonders:

In a moment when fences and lines are being drawn all around the world according to ideologies that other and petty definitions that exclude, why would this seem a good time to start drawing lines around open? Frankly, it seems a bit more like fear mongering.

And further, taken from two different parts of his post:

Seems to me there is an attempt to define it in order to start controlling it, and that is often related to resources, grants, etc.

I think the locking down of open is dangerous. I think it draws lines where they need not be, and it reconsolidates power for those who define it.

Groom points out that once we start drawing lines around a concept like open pedagogy, this can have the effect of closing down new ways of thinking about and doing it. If we start to say, “this is open pedagogy” and to get a grant or to publish something under that umbrella you have to be doing x, y or z, then someone who is doing q or p may be left out of what is the current “new shiny thing” in the zeitgeist of open education.

That’s how I felt too when first stumbling upon the overwhelming number of recent blog posts on the issue. Or rather, I had some vague sense of wondering why we needed to spend so much effort on it, and then reading Jim’s post helped clarify the issue for me.

Still, given that I just spent over 3000 words in my last blog post talking about open pedagogy, apparently I think it’s worthwhile to try to get some further clarity around it. Why do I think that? What follows is me thinking my way to understanding my own views through writing about them.

Openwashing

David Wiley points to the problem of “openwashing” when he says it’s important to define open pedagogy. And that makes sense to me. If we don’t have a good sense of what “openness” in education or educational resources or pedagogy is, how can we criticize an edu-disruptor-innovator company who claims to be promoting open pedagogy when most in the open education world would agree they’re not? How can we point to what it’s not if we don’t have at least some clarity on what it is?

Giving credit where credit is due

Sometimes there’s a tendency to speak of open pedagogy and open educational practices as if they are definitely something different from other educational practices or pedagogies. And maybe they are. Or maybe not; maybe what these end up being are combinations of other educational theories, or perhaps even just slightly reworded versions of one educational theory that already exists. Honestly, I don’t know because I don’t have a background in educational or pedagogical theories. But if we can’t define what we mean by “open pedagogy,” then how can we tell if it’s something different or if we should just be using a view that is already in existence?

A sense of clarity about one’s own views

I’m a philosopher, and it bothers me a great deal if I am using words and trying to make arguments about something that I can’t define. And by “define” I don’t necessarily mean that I have to put strict boundaries around it; this could be a rough idea with lots of porosity. But my previous post convinced me that I don’t know what I would say if someone asked me: what is it that is added to “pedagogy” or “educational practices” when you add the word “open” to those? What unifies that list of things you think of as open educational practices? There are a whole lot of things that could go into an answer for that, and they’re a bit jumbled in my head right now and as a philosopher that bothers me.

Should it? I do think this is important. If we can’t get clear on what we mean by particular words or phrases, then what are we doing when we try to advocate for those things, or explain what it is we’re doing when we say we engage in those things? Which leads me to:

Advocacy

There are a number of us who give talks, facilitate workshops, in which we talk about open pedagogy or open educational practices. Are we talking about the same thing? Are we advocating for different sorts of things, for different reasons, and calling it all one thing? It’s hard to see advocacy working towards promoting change if it’s working at cross purposes.

Other?

I’m curious to hear others’ views on why having some further clarity on open pedagogy (or some other form of “open”), if not a strict boundary line around a definition, might be useful.

 

But there are still those worries noted above

How can we get more clarity on open pedagogy without doing so in a way that supports the power of those doing the defining (or those who would define it similarly)? How can we leave the boundaries open enough for there still to be room to move beyond them and change them?

Can we have a flexible, porous fence that’s not really a fence but more of a gathering that leaves space for differences in details and upheavals in the future?

 

 

Navigating open pedagogy, part 1

In April 2017 there was a flurry of blog posts and a hangout about open pedagogy–various ways of defining it, thinking about it, etc. That was during a heavy teaching term for me and mostly I just saw that it was happening and read maybe one or two of the many blog posts at the time.

You can see a curated list of them, here (thanks Maha Bali!).

In a couple of days I am presenting on a panel for the BCcampus Open Textbook Summit, called Open Pedagogy Case Studies & Examples from Langara, UBC and Athabasca. Marianne Gianacopoulos (Langara), Michael Dabrowski (Athabasca) and I will be speaking on projects we’re involved in that we each think of as having an element of open pedagogy. So we’re starting with a discussion of just what “open pedagogy” is.

Thus, I figured it was time to visit that large number of blog posts linked above.

I won’t be able to read them all before Wednesday. And I definitely won’t be able to synthesize all of even those I manage to read. I am writing this post just to gather some thoughts from what I am reading in the next day or so. Think of it as my own filtering, focusing on what I find most interesting or surprising or what I want to think further about, rather than a definitive analysis of what I think open pedagogy is. [Aside: As I’m writing this post I’m surprised to find I don’t already have a tag on this blog for “open pedagogy.” Just changed that.]

This post is my somewhat rambling reflections on reading some of the posts Maha Bali curated (linked above). The next one, part 2, is where I will try to pull some of these threads together into a revised view of my own.

[Addendum added later: Actually, it turns out I wrote another one before part 2: part 1.5, why define open pedagogy?]

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