Foster Collaboration with Open Pedagogy

Since this week is Open Educational Resources (OER) week, and 2018 was the year of open, I’m eager to touch on a topic that I feel passionate about that aligns with OER—Open Pedagogy. 

When I think of Open Pedagogy, it brings to mind areas that I have a background in—practices and theories related to teaching and learning with technology and social justice. Open Pedagogy has several meanings, but we’re going to focus on perspectives specific to OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP).  

So, what’s OEP?

Cronin (2017) defines OEP as collaborative practices including the creation, use and reuse of OER, as well as “pedagogical practices employing participatory technologies and social networks for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation, and empowerment of learners (p. 16).” 

This definition echoes the importance of developing relationships while teaching, and learning to create and sustain open materials (i.e., accessible through and permitted by the 5Rs). It also supports Open Practices proposed by Beetham (2012) and highlights the significance of educators practicing open scholarship in their teaching practices. Bronwyn Hegarty’s (2015) Open Pedagogy model and its eight interconnected attributes grounded in openness provides an anchor for structuring the themes within this post. 

From Open Practices Briefing Paper (Beetham et al., 2012). Licensed CC BY-NC 3.0

When considering Open Pedagogy and OEP, the terms are often used interchangeably. However, Wiley & Hilton (2018) proposes using the term OER-enabled pedagogy. “OER-enabled pedagogy is the “set of teaching and learning practices that are only possible or practical in the context of the 5R permissions which are characteristic of OER” (p.135). 

While OER can help foster student-centered approaches that result in content that students are permitted to reuse and improve in some way, consistent institutional models and processes in place to promote faculty scholarship using Open Pedagogy tools remain a challenge. We’ll examine how Open Pedagogy can help move the conversation beyond the content of OER and practices of OEP towards open scholarship enabled by open pedagogy tools and processes. 

When institutions champion environments conducive for open scholarship and collegiality, then systems are promoted towards the creation of OER courses.

Open Pedagogy and Scholarship

Beetham’s diagram above shows us that educators who demonstrate open practices are willing to share and collaborate with peers on content in open networks.

Are you a faculty member who is willing to share and collaborate with peers on open networks? Do you have apprehensions? Do you believe that your team has the knowledge, skills, and expertise to develop your own content to use in your program, but lack the time to do so? Or do you question what type of system to structure and develop your work in? 

If you’re looking to get started, why not try Hypothesis? It’s an Open Pedagogy tool that allows educators (and even students if you want) to share, collaborate, and discuss knowledge through annotations. They also have a strong focus on accessibility. If you try it out, be sure to reach out and let us know your thoughts.

At our institution, many faculty use what Cronin (2017) calls digital networking practices through the use of social media in their teaching (e.g., blogs, wikis, twitter, etc.). As we strive to create more open materials and courses, we’ll need to identify how open we want to be as an institution. Cronin (2017) proposes four levels of openness:

  • Macro(Will you openly share?); 
  • Meso (Who will I share with?);
  • Micro (Who will I share as?); and 
  • Nano (Will I share as?).  

Another great open pedagogy tool is OER Commons HUBS, which can help faculty to collaborate beyond their institutional community of practice. This open network offers faculty a wider space to share knowledge in and develop new ideas that can then be brought back to the institution for development. 

If you’re faculty, we’d love to hear your thoughts on some ways that you need to be supported to feel equipped to develop OER materials. Do you believe you need more information about using open tools?  If you’ve already dived into OER, OEP, and Open Pedagogy let us know or share an idea that you have to start.


Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L., & Littlejohn, A. (2012). Open practices: briefing paper. JISC. Retrieved from

Cronin, C. (2017). Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices in higher education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning18(5). Retrieved from

Hegarty, B. (2015). Attributes of open pedagogy: A model for using open educational resources. Educational Technology, (July-August), 3-13.

Wiley, & Hilton. J. (2018). Defining OER-enabled pedagogy. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(4).

Author: Tara McCoy, Lead Instructional Designer

Tara is a lifelong learner and recovering Type A personality. She loves to read and help others learn. A mighty Spartan and Tartar, she earned her BA from Michigan State University, and MA and EdS in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University. She’s an active member of Toastmasters International, having held various chapter-level leadership positions.

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