Open Pedagogy: Moving Forward

by: Tracy Kelly
On March 9, BCcampus hosted a webinar (see: slides or recording ) as a follow up to our blog post, which was in response to David Wiley’s blog post  about Open Pedagogy.
Our main aim was to respond to David Wiley’s challenge of generating 15-20 more examples of Open Pedagogy in order to advance the conversation and understanding about what Open Pedagogy is/not, and what it might look like in practice. To get there, we shared a matrix, and invited people to a) provide feedback on the matrix itself and b) use the matrix (or their individual creative juices) to generate examples (real or imagined) of Open Pedagogy to add to our growing list.

Doodles of the word Open
Teaching Open Source Practices, Version 4.0 by is CC BY SA 2.0

To summarize the matrix concept briefly, it is a intended to be a simple tool to help us imagine examples of Open Pedagogy. For our part, we are interested in more than “just Open”, but also excellent learning design (which we called “effective” learning design for the time being). And so it looked like this:

Open      Not Open
Effective Learning  Design
Not Effective (Non-optimal) Learning Design

During the webinar, participants shared a number of insightful, interesting, and useful questions and comments. For example:

  • the term “pedagogy” can be problematic for some in our context of higher education. “Andragogy” or  “Learning Design” may be a better term for our purposes
  • “Effective” as a way of describing teaching approaches or learning design may be more finely tuned with terms like “teacher-centred” vs. “learner-centred”. Or, my preference is “teaching-centred” vs. “learning centred”.  In other words, describing approaches that are more geared around the acts of teaching and learning, vs. the individuals.
  • A continuum (vs. a matrix) may be a useful way of representing “Open Pedagogy”.  While it requires us to collapse categories together (open + “effective”, and closed + “not effective”), it may be a simpler way to represent the ideas/examples, and in a way it gets to the heart of the matter because what we are really after are examples that are both open AND great design for learning.

Taking these suggestions into account, a revised matrix might look like:

Open “Closed”
Learning Centred Design/Approach


we need more examples here – go here to add yours

great learning design, but in a closed environment (classroom or LMS only), and doesn’t ‘take advantage of the affordances of internet/web technology
Teaching Centred Design/Approach


e.g., adopting an open textbook, but otherwise using “traditional” methods: exams, essays that only the instructor sees, etc.


“traditional” methods: costly textbooks, lecture-heavy, exam-driven assessment, etc

And a continuum might look like:

Closed Teacher Centred Design ←———————————-> Open Learning Centred Design

Keep in mind the point is to use these as tools for description and idea generation – not value judgement. We are still hoping to generate more, bold examples that fit into quadrant 1, or the right end of the continuum:  activities, assignments, and courses that are both Open and Learning Centred. The could be – and perhaps should be – “figments of our imagination” at this time…things we have not tried or heard of before, but will push the boundaries and create truly unique and powerful invitations for students’ learning.

So what’s next?

We are taking this conversation on the road, with plans to present at the Open Textbook Summit (with Kim Thanos of Lumen Learning) May 28-29,  and the  Educational Technology Users Group conference in June.  In the meantime, please continue to add any examples to the list!