Open Pedagogy – The Recipe for Success?

Imagine you are given a basket of perfectly ripe, delicious apples (and if you don’t like apples, imagine that you like them). The giver of these apples tells you that you can do whatever you would like with them….eat them as they are, cut them up into slices, mix them with other fruits to make a fruit salad, dice them up and add your own touch (cinnamon is my personal favorite), or anything else you see fit. You do this for a while and are quite pleased with the apples and, because you are a person who likes to share, so are your friends with whom you share the apples.

But it gets to a point that you realize you want to do more with the apples, only you don’t know how. Then a friend shares a recipe for a scrumptious apple pie with you. He walks you through the recipe, helps you find the necessary ingredients, shares some tips he’s learned from making the apple pie multiple times, and then encourages you to try making the pie yourself. It will take work and maybe some fumbling along the way (especially if you aren’t a great baker), but with this recipe in hand, you feel confident to try. And so you make your first apple pie.

What does any of this have to do with open pedagogy? Let’s view the apples as open educational resources, one ingredient that has potential to become an apple pie if you add in some effort and a few extra ingredients. If you eat them as they are, they are still delicious and that’s great. But with a recipe and some help from a friend (maybe a colleague who has already implemented open pedagogy in their own classroom), they can become something even greater.

Open pedagogy is what happens when an educator takes advantage of all the affordances that come with open: the permission to retain, reuse, remix, revise, and redistribute. While using OER is a great start, the potential goes beyond that. David Wiley uses the example of an airplane that is being driven on a road instead of flown. Sure, it has all the necessary functionality to be driven, but is that what an airplane was meant to do?

I believe open pedagogy can be beneficial in all classes because it is about tailoring the course to the needs of the students, which means it is adaptable. There is no one-size-fits-all that means a professor has to take it as is or leave it. If you were to Google “apple pie recipe” there are 4,590,000 results (as of 9:30am today). Many recipes have similarities but tweak the amount of ingredients, heat in the oven, time to bake, etc. However, some educators may choose to eat their apples as apples because they don’t want to put in the effort to bake a pie or, worse, they doubt their abilities as a baker and are discouraged before they even begin.



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