OER Synthesis and Evaluation / OpenPracticesTeaching
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Page history last edited by Helen Beetham 9 years, 4 months ago

This page is part of the Open Practices briefing paper


OERs and open pedagogies or teaching practices

The potential for OERs to change teaching practices can be implied from the evidence on learning reported in the previous section. This potential lies around changing attitudes in design of the curriculum, away from viewing content as constitutive of the curriculum and towards viewing it as an artefact of the learning, research and knowledge-sharing processes learners undertake. However, evidence that this constitutes a new pedagogy or trend in pedagogic practice is lacking in the JISC-funded projects, partly because their objectives and timing did not tie in well with the curriculum development cycle..

Several project teams worked with their host institution or subject community to develop a shared understanding of how learning and teaching might be supported by open educational resources. The C-SAP project drafted a 'Pedagogical framework for OERs' which considers features such as how private or public a resource is, and how contextualised or decontextualised, as aspects influencing its pedagogic use.


Openness to ideas, recognition of contextual differences, negotiation of meanings and co-creation of materials are central to learning and teaching in the subject areas of Art and Design and Social Science. Arguably, what subject teachers were doing in these OER projects was rediscovering the specificity of their disciplinary pedagogy through a new lens (content sharing on the open web), rather than discovering of a new 'open' pedagogy. However, the Learning from WOeRK project described how release of open resources for workplace use implied ' large paradigm shifts in how the University designs and delivers the curriculum'. These might include:


  • separation of learning content, process and accreditation, exemplified by the use of OER and the need to signpost learners to opportunities for assessment and accreditation
  • more flexible, negotiated curricula

  • marketising the support of learning in organisations, rather than marketising content or on-campus learning experiences


In all of these contexts, what is made open is not 'content' but rather traces of the dialogues that have taken place between learners and mentors, or between learners and their creative productions. These traces require considerable recontextualisation if they are to have any value in reuse. Also, because of the nature of the traces involved, issues of student privacy and of student IPR (particularly in creative subjects) become problematic. And yet it is precisely these richly contextualised, personal, creative/reflective, co-constructive activities that are most engaging and developmental for learners, and arguably have the best claim to represent an 'open' pedagogy.


A robust conclusion from the subject strand of the UK OER pilot phase, borne out in a more limited way here, was that different subject areas adopt those aspects of open practice that amplify their existing pedagogic practices most effectively, whether those practices be content-based, process-based, or passing on tacit knowledge. Attempts to engage students reflected this range of different pedagogic approaches, described by the C-SAP project as:

  • 'Content approach' - existing content repackaged for open release

  • 'Connoisseur approach' - students as reviewers and selectors of open content

  • 'Creative empowerment approach' - students actively producing and publicly critiquing or contributing to OERs


Go to the next page in the Open Practices briefing paper: OERs and sharing learning/teaching ideas


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