Evolving ‘Open Pedagogy’

At it’s core, the question of open pedagogy is “what can I do in the context of open that I couldn’t do before?” This turns out to be terribly difficult, because of the ubiquity (even ambience?) of copyright in our lives. An educator asking the question “what can I do pedagogically if I don’t have to worry about copyright?” is a bit like an aerospace engineer asking, “what could I do in rocket design if I no longer had to worry about gravity?” or a politician asking “what could I do if I no longer had to worry about the party system?” or a researcher asking “what could I do if funding were no longer a constraint?”

Design is the process of making goal-oriented choices under constraint, and I fear we have been operating far too long under the assumption that copyright restraints are as inevitable as death and taxes. Our design strategies have evolved in the context of this very harsh environmental factor – copyright has actually shaped the evolutionary path of pedagogy. And now we have to roll back the clock, as it were, and reimagine what could be now that couldn’t be before. What evolutionary path will pedagogy take in this newer, significantly less hostile environment?

There are doubtless dozens of very good answers to the question “what is pedagogically possible in the context of open?” As this is a very broad question, I’ve tried to narrow it (to gain a foothold) my first time through the inquiry loop by connecting it to the research base. My goal with this line of work has been to try to connect the 5Rs to research on strategies that effectively support learning. My first exercise along these lines was to look at the top 20 or 30 influences at http://visible-learning.org/hattie-ranking-influences-effect-sizes-learning-achievement/ that pertain to the curricula, the teacher, and teaching and learning approaches, and ask “how do the 5R permissions expand what can be done here?” and “what novel opportunities for remixing effective practices are presented by the 5R permissions?” That’s what I’ve outlined at http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/2975.

Are you thinking about open pedagogy? Do you find it difficult? What are you doing to break out of your old thinking? What kind of new world are you imagining?

I’ve been thinking about these issues as I prepare a new keynote for Affordable Learning Georgia next week, and as I work on our 5R Open Course Design Framework. But a special h/t to Clint Lalonde for prompting this post.