Considerations for Using Open Pedagogy

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • List three considerations to keep in mind before changing your teaching style.
  • Explain why it is important to scaffold learning in open pedagogy courses.

Before jumping in with open pedagogy, you should keep in mind how you will support students through the changes you plan to make. Ward (2017) discussed some of these considerations in an interview with Rajiv Jhangiani, a leader in the field of open pedagogy:

“When taking that approach, [Rajiv] said, it is important to give students control over their work. Let them choose Creative Commons licenses they are comfortable with. Allow them to later remove online work they decide is inferior. At the same time, scaffold assignments so that students gradually build skills and improve their ability to produce high-quality work.”[1]

If you are interested in utilizing open pedagogy in your courses, first consider how this will affect your students.

Understand your tools

You don’t have to use a snazzy tool or technology to make open pedagogy work. Make sure that you are choosing a tool or technology that your students can easily learn and– if it is not already familiar to them– that you have included time in your course for teaching students how to use your chosen tool.

Scaffold learning

Wikibooks logo” by Bastique, Ramac, et al is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.

Not all students will be familiar with technology or able to engage with OER quickly. It’s important that you scaffold technology support into your teaching so all students can be on the same page when it comes to using the tools you’ve created or adopted.[2]

Some methods for scaffolding learning are provided below:

  • Integrate interactive exercises into your class to help students work through new concepts.
  • Create tutorials on how to use any technology or tool unique to your class.
  • Use blogs and discussion posts to introduce the concept of writing for a public audience.
  • Give students the choice between set assignment types to accommodate learners with different technical competencies.

Educate students about copyright

It’s important that students who are creating items that might be published and shared openly can understand what that means. If you’re uncomfortable about discussing copyright with your students, university librarians can visit your class to make this process easier.


  • Your students don’t need to be copyright lawyers to feel safe using OER. Focus on building a comfortable foundation of knowledge about CC licenses: the rest, if necessary, can come later.
  • If you’d like your students to learn more about this topic but don’t know where to start, consider reaching out to your subject librarian or a copyright support person on your campus.
  • Alternatively, you can adopt an OER to teach your students about copyright, such as Larysa Nadolny’s Copyright & Fair Use for K-12 Educators.

Be considerate of student privacy

Some students will be energized by the idea that their homework can be seen, used, or even improved upon by future students in the class. Others may feel uncomfortable with this step. Allow students to opt out of making their materials public if they are uncertain about doing so and give them the option to remove their name from public documents if they are uncertain about this for any reason.


  • Explain clearly how and where student-created course content will be shared in the course syllabus.
  • Teach students their rights as content creators and allow them to opt out of sharing their assignments.
  • Allow students to share their work without attaching their personal information to it, if they are concerned about this.
  • Reaffirm students’ interest in publicly sharing their materials with each assignment that will be posted.

These are only a few concepts to keep in mind when exploring open pedagogy in your course. You can learn more about this topic in the Open Pedagogy Notebook.

  1. Ward, Doug. "Turning open education into a social movement." UK Center for Teaching & Excellence blog, April 2017.
  2. Kim, Minchi C. and Hannfin, Michael J. "Scaffolding problem solving in technology-enhanced learning environments (TELEs): Bridging research and theory with practice." Computers & Education 56, no. 2 (2011): 403-417. DOI:


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The OER Starter Kit Copyright © 2019 by Abbey K. Elder is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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