What is Open Pedagogy?


The discussion of “Open Pedagogy” revolves around a core question, “What should education be?” In the context of higher education, and, indeed, any level of education, the task is clear: we must prepare our students for the future. But how best to do this in a world of staggering uncertainty? How can we prepare students for a world and workforce we can barely conceptualize ourselves? Though a single approach will always prove insufficient, the concept of “open pedagogy” can help teachers and students create learning experiences that are both more enlivening and foster higher-order thinking. But what exactly is it? It has been defined as “…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.” It is not a “new” theory. In 1979, Claude Paquette located three essential values: autonomy/independence, freedom and responsibility, and democracy/participation. The proliferation of Open Educational Resources (OERs) has sparked deeper conversations about access, equity and sustainability; now, it is common to hear conversations about “Open Data,” “Open Science” and “Open Government.” The meeting of Open Pedagogy and OER is evidence in this book; students-as-creators and teachers-as-facilitators are coming together throughout the world to answer the question of what education is and what it can be.



The principles of “Open Pedagogy” can be leveraged to engage students as the creators of knowledge rather than passive consumers of it. In this paradigm, students demonstrate their mastery of learning objectives through the authoring of “sustainable” assignments geared toward audiences outside of the classroom. This may take many forms: blog posts, annotations, introductory chapters, podcasts, websites–the type of work that can live another life on the internet, the type of work that can be built upon, expanded, and fashioned into new meaning by successive waves of future students. It was in this spirit that this book was created: a testament to the skill and generative energy that lives inside each and every student and a “living” document to be expanded upon and added to each semester.


How it is Used in this Book

You can see student application of “open pedagogy” through sustainable assignments that are incorporated in the book, including:

  • Introductory Chapters (to introduce primary source material)
  • Primary Text Annotations using Hypothes.is (these function as “footnotes” throughout the chapters)
  • Discussion Questions (to foster “close reading” of primary texts)
  • Secondary Source Curation (recommendations appearing as “Further Resources”)
  • Test Bank Questions (which served as the basis for midterm and final exams; available at the end of the book)
  • Digital Learning Objects (secondary source creation; available at the end of the book)



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An Open Companion to Early British Literature Copyright © 2019 by Allegra Villarreal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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