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Chapter 5- Principles of Open Pedagogy

In our principles we sought to capture the essence of those who have come before us. The study of open pedagogy is not an act of reflection but more an embodied experience. The people we cite our are our friends. The words in this book belong to them as much they do to us. That is open pedagogy.

Principle One: Production Based

Make. Hack. Play. Learn. It is what makes us human. We have the ability to manipulate our environment and consider possible futures. Open pedagogy must begin with production based learning. As noted by connected learning theorist (Ito et al)a focus on making allows us to recreate the types of dispositions necessary in our networked society.

Stressing the role of making is not new to the world of education. Long before Maker Ed was a thing we began to see the role of production and activity in learning (Engstrom) and learning as a social construct (Vygotsky, 1972). What has changed in the introduction of digital tools and the web. Educational philosophers such as John Papert have long sought a paradigm shift that makes learning more about production of artifacts rather than dissemination of learning.

Production based learning is also essential to open pedagogy because it requires us to learn out loud. Posting reflections on your blogs or how to videos on YouTube document and capture learning better than any multiple choice assessment.

Principle Two: Privacy Through Data Empowerment

Put the learner first. It is a principle that's part Montessori, part user centered design, First and foremost this means giving the student control over their data. Open pedagogy encourages a model where learners own everything they produce and get to decide how and what to share.

Want to keep some posts private or share just with the class? Maybe you will keep your blog up after the class or delete everything as soon as the class ends. It doesn’t matter. The point is the data must be portable and controlled by the learner.

Can open pedagogy be FERPA compliant? The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.Yes. According to Reclaim Hosting, whose founders helped to shape the early days of open pedagogy it comes down to ensuring a student’s privacy by giving them control over the data. They note:

The student is controlling how much information is out there. Similar to a public blogging platform being run by a university, FERPA only requires that student records (and what constitutes a “record” is debatable) not be public unless a student gives permission. In this case if the student wanted to sign up and lock down their hosting they can certainly do that, no one is requiring them to make their information public.

Now when utilizing open pedagogy you should have a well established privacy policy. Here is an example we have often used. You also need to provide clear tutorials and make sure all students know how to control their privacy.

Principle Three: Community is the Curriculum

When engaged in open pedagogy you rely on while also supporting a larger community. Pathways of participation exist from lurking to leadership. Contributions are drawn from the commons and learners are given the option to share back what they make

Like many of the memes and principles of open pedagogy the phrase “Community is the Curriculum” was born in Dave Cormier’s MOOC Rhizo14 which as we know sought to explore rhizomatic learning. In order for open pedagogy to work creating a shared culture has to be a major part of your learning goals.

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As a teacher trying to engage in open pedagogy you should join a community and try it out first or even invite your students along with you as a primary step. A strong focus on creative feedback loops must exist yet never be explicit. Cultivating community is not always easy. You must build it into the curriculum.

Principle Four: Agency and Identity

Open pedagogy works by providing an avenue for the learner to explore who they are and share their learning journey. You are giving someone a piece of the web and telling them to carve out a place in the world.

In order to create this an environment as an instructor you need to actively build what James Paul Gee labeled a 'circuit of reflective action' This is a feedback loop of collective intelligence that is distributed across different learning spaces. This may, although rarely, happen organically in open source and open learning communities.

These feedback loops that Gee describes work in open pedagogy because we are asked to reflect on your thinking out loud. Meanwhile you engage in observing lurking, testing, and playing. This leads to action in the world and modification of one's knowledge.

Principle Four: Leadership through Literacy

Watching meaning making occur in communities around open pedagogy is a beautiful thing. Leadership in these communities occurs by further developing literacy skills. Your ability to shape words, art, and video matter. In more technical but equally open learning spaces this maybe in the structure of open data. In #DS106, one of the first open pedagogy courses, this might be a animated gif you made as a meme. In a business class it might be the writing of a script in R for the modeling of income.

Illich, no fan of authoritarian schooling, wrote ,”Intellectual leadership does depend on superior intellectual discipline and imagination and the willingness to associate with others in their exercise.” In open pedagogy this intellectual discipline is not about being smarter. It's about persistence and knowing how to learn what you do not know. Yet leadership in these spaces is often defined by a growing set of literacy skills. “Unofficial leaders” even in courses with no leaders are often those with the most skills to manipulate media.

A true leader in open pedagogy then applies these literacy skills to supporting the community overall. Gardner Campbell, another early pioneer in open pedagogy, stresses the link between teachers and leaders in these spaces. He defines leadership as the,”constant mediation and care required by love, that place where both individuality and relationship must assert themselves and dance together.”

Principle Five: Knowledge Quilting


In open pedagogy knowledge gets stiched together among the people and the tools. We do not draw on metaphors of a bank of knowledge. Learning does not get collected and stored but rather shared and remixed by the crowd.Furthermore we explicitly draw on quilting as a metaphor to reinforce the feminist pedagogy and care built into open pedagogy. Educators do not master new strategies and skills but rather engage in an exchange of skills, we gather around looms of truth and waver together new futures..

Open pedagogy brokers future learning. People get connected to meaningful learning opportunities while being having their social networks enriched Ching, Santo, Hoadley, & Pepper 2016). In order for knowledge brokering[b], however, the learner does need to have particular mindsets developed. Their network orientation or help-seeking orientation (Ching et al., 2016), more than any technical skill, may determine how someone thrives in open pedagogy. [c][d][e][f][g][h]Stanton-Salazar (2001) noted that someone's, network orientation, or level of trust they have with people influences learning. Barnes (1972) noted people must to resolving issues across networks.

At the same time we believe open pedagogy spaces develops these mindsets while also requiring enough capacity in order to sustain knowledge brokering. You often see the same people hanging in the same MOOCs that use open pedagogy. While the barriers to entry are low in these spaces few do not advance with right mindset. As we said in the beginning open is an attitude.

Principle Six: Remix as Mentoring

In open pedagogy we learn through remix. Communities spurt up around a shared interest and trade texts from source code to video mash-ups. In CLMOOC for example, a community originally run by the National Writing Project but now lead by unaffiliated volunteers hundreds of remixes were traded each week. Exemplar and mentor texts act as curriculum and currency of credibility.

Lawrence Lessig notes that the web today is an ecosystem of reading and writing (2008). He then goes on to describing the two benefits of remix as the community and education. In open pedagogy remix is mentoring.

When crafting spaces of open pedagogy you must bring remix to the front. Look for patterns of text structure across genres, dissect mentor texts, provide starter kits for new learners, and create a stream of texts and artifacts that people can use and remix.

principles_of_open_pedagogy.txt · Last modified: 2020/11/29 13:36 (external edit)