33 Open Pedagogy

Teaching Strategies: Open Pedagogy

Open pedagogy is a practice that uses the 5R activity framework to design lessons and assessments that encourage students to improve or create course content. With open pedagogy projects, students are empowered to engage in information creation through non-disposable or renewable assignments (Gits, 2018).

The student is both creator and contributor of assignments that are openly licensed, allowing the content to be shared, revised, and reused by future students in a course. In other words, Open pedagogy describes the experiences of learners who engage in experience through the open web. The non-linear, dynamic, and networked characteristics of the open web fully inform the qualities of open pedagogy (Cronin, 2017).

Simply put, open pedagogy involves creating assignments that involve students creating things that others can revise and reuse and that that add value to the world beyond the course.

Wenk defines (2010) openness as:

  • The freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
  • The freedom to study the work and to apply the knowledge acquired from it
  • The freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
  • The freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works (p. 435)

Wiley argues (2010) that being open is a matter of (1) cost and (2) copyright licensing and related permissions. For Wiley, open means that a resource is available free of cost and that five permissions (called the “5Rs”) are also made available free of cost. These permissions include:

  • Reuse: the right to reuse the content in its unaltered/verbatim form (e.g., make a backup copy of the content)
  • Revise: the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into other languages)
  • Remix: the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute: the right to share copies of the original content, the revisions, or the remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
  • Retain – right to own and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store and manage)

What are some good reasons to invest the time into OER and Open Pedagogy?

  • OER and open pedagogy are worthwhile academic pursuits that are starting to be recognized for tenure and promotion
  • Your work may be read more widely as it is more widely available since libraries do not need to be paid subscriptions to access it
  • Work developed openly can be used as tools for social justice and equity in education
  • Collaboration is possible across all levels of education
  • Openly licensed work can be adapted and used on demand

This strategy takes careful planning to create an open pedagogy lesson that is effective and engaging. We have created a planning document that walks you through the steps to creating a lesson or activity using open pedagogy which can be found here: Open Pedagogy Lesson Plan Template

This section outlines how you might begin to think about adopting the teaching strategy and the tools you might consider employing.

Examples of projects. Check these awesome projects out on openpedagogy.org


On the Web


Caswell, T., Henson, S., Jensen, M., & Wiley, D. (2008). Open Educational Resources: Enabling universal education.

Cronin, C. (2017). Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices in higher education. DOI: https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i5.3096

Gits, C. (2018). Faculty guide to open educational resources (OER): Open pedagogy. Tacoma Community College.

Wenk, B. (2010). Open educational resources (OER) inspire teaching and learning.


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