Thinking about open pedagogy


(image via unsplash)

The question “what is open pedagogy?” is this months  Year of Open  perspective.  A really rich variety of voices have shared their views on the site. They are all worth a read.

As the waves of #oer17 are still washing over my brain, I’m not sure I really know, the answer to the question, but I have been thinking a lot more about over the past week or so. Partly because of the really excellent presentations, discussions and reflections at and after the conference and partly because of some other discussions and definitions that have been causing some healthy (maybe slightly heated) discussions in certain quarters. (See this post for a summary of the whole “he said, he said” thang).

Maha Bali has also organised  a google hang out on Monday 24th April which I’m taking part in, to try and unpack the question and maybe get a bit more “she said” into the discussions too!

I have equal feelings of  excitement and fear about the session. I am excited as I think it’s really timely,  and I admire and respect all the participants. Coupled with that I have a bit of the old imposter syndrome creeping in in terms of thinking “wtf can I bring to this party?”

However, as someone who self declares as an open practitioner, and as I pointed out way back in my #oer15 keynote, someone who is from the middle of the mainstream in the UK HE sector, then I think that actually my take on this is actually quite important in terms of the widespread adoption and understanding of open education, open resources, open pedagogy and for me the most important, open practice.

Whilst I fully recognise the need for definition and rigour, I also am very aware of the pragmatic needs of practice.  So I was a bit concerned with my relationship and practice in terms of the 5 R definition of open pedagogy from David Wiley.   Partly I think that is because most of my practice isn’t content (book) based. A lot of it is actually about giving people confidence to try new things, to share their practice and resources.  There are, as Maha and I have been chatting about in our prep for the session, some things you can’t put a license on.

So whilst I  strive to meet the 5 Rs  I can’t always meet all of them. So if I am not practicing open pedagogy does that mean I am not an open practitioner is the questions circling through my brain? If I am having doubts then how the heck can I extent, support, be part of an open education community in my institution and beyond?

After a small cry for help on twitter I was pointed to this article on  Attributes of Open Pedagogy by Browyn Hegarty which probably resonated more, and articulated some of my challenges particularly around the overlapping nature of the 8 attributes discussed in it.

My #Iwill message from #oer17 was to be “be generous, inclusive and extend notion of open hospitality in everything I do”.   But in our definitions of open pedagogy are we inadvertently being exclusive? Josie Fraser highlighted some very pertinent questions in her reflections on #oer17 post,  I can’t put it any better than this (thanks Josie)

I’m suspicious of the current distinction between open pedagogy and open practice, and in particular, how little explanation is being given to the privileging or even just use of the term pedagogy over the term practice. Is the use of pedegogy being used as shorthand for educational practice? Is it being used to underline the importance of formal education, or the primacy of teaching? Why not open heutagogy? Is it being used as a form of interpellation, a signal to include and exclude specific groups within open education? What is wrong with ‘practice’? How do we benefit from continuing to insist on a break between theory and practice, or theory and politics? Is this distinction as harmful as the disavowal of the relationship between the personal and the political?

It should be a very interesting discussion on Monday – more information about how to join in is available here.

5 thoughts on “Thinking about open pedagogy”

  1. Very interesting post, Sheila. Thanks! I also struggle with being ‘open’ through working for an educational software provider, and seemingly on the outer periphery of OEP. Having read your post though, my #Iwill message will be to understand the possibilities of integrating OEP into my professional practice and engage more with this community.

  2. Thanks Sheila. Looking forward to hearing more she said 🙂 And I think there might be a bit of activity on #YearofOpen too.

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