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Open Pedagogy

Openly licensed content gives instructors added freedom to engage with students in the classroom and to use course materials in new and innovative ways. Below is an introduction to open pedagogy and some resources to get you started.

What is open pedagogy?

Providing your students with free and open course materials will ensure they have full access to the course content, but open pedagogy asks us to go a step further and change the way we teach in order to engage students in the process of knowledge creation and contribution.

According to the OER Starter Kit, open pedagogy is "a series of practices which involve engaging students in a course through the development, adaptation, or use of open educational resources." In other words, with open pedagogy, students aren't simply consuming the course materials, they're involved in making course materials.

The renewable assignment

David Wiley, open education advocate and co-founder of Lumen Learning, in his blog post on disposable vs. renewable assignments, asks instructors to consider the purpose and function of the homework we give to our students. Traditionally, students are given what he calls a "disposable assignment," or something that adds no value to the world. Students complete it, instructors grade it, and then it is thrown away. 

Instead of disposable assignments, Wiley advocates for "renewable assignments," which allow students and instructors to complete assignments while also contributing to scholarship outside of their own classroom. Renewable assignments take many shapes and forms, but some ideas to get started include:

  • Co-creating an OER with your students
  • Asking students to contribute to under-developed Wikipedia articles
  • Asking students to create videos explaining difficult concepts learned in class
  • Having students write test and quiz questions based on course material

Tools for open pedagogy

  • available within Canvas, this tool allows for collaborative annotation among students. 
  • Wikibooks and WikiEdu: collaborate with students on a text or Wikipedia article that will be shared with the public.
  • Google Drive: have students collaborate on texts, presentations, slides, and spreadsheets. Content can be published and shared with future classes.
  • Perusall: upload an OER text for students to annotate and collaborate on.
  • YouTube: have students create and upload instructional YouTube videos; give the videos an open license so others can share and adapt as needed. YouTube videos can be embedded into your Canvas course by adding external media.

The above list of tools for open pedagogy were adapted from The OER Starter Kit by Abbey K. Elder, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


If you have questions about implementing open pedagogy within your classroom, contact us at