Teach with Open Pedagogy

Open educational resources (OER) are comparable to traditional educational materials in nearly every way. There is nothing inherently different about assigning an open textbook over a traditional textbook. However, because of the open licenses under which OER are published, they do provide more opportunities for instructors to actively engage with their teaching materials. Below, we've provided some information about practices other instructors have adopted to accompany and complement the openness of their teaching materials. 

Open Pedagogy

There are a variety of definitions of open pedagogy, though the University of Texas Arlington provides this useful description:

Open pedagogy is a high-impact practice that empowers students by providing them an opportunity to engage in information creation through the use of renewable assignments. Practitioners of open pedagogy embrace collaboration, student agency, and authentic audiences while recognizing the differences in privilege and progress that impact how students balance the benefits of sharing and a need for privacy. This open educational practice has the power to transform the educational experience for both teachers and students.

Open pedagogy is a form of experiential learning in which students demonstrate understanding through the act of creating content. The products created are often openly licensed so that they may live outside of the classroom and support others' learning as OER (Mavs Open Press, 2021). Examples of open pedagogy assignments are described in the case studies linked below:  

Tips for Teaching with Open Pedagogy

  • Consider your tools. You don't have to use a snazzy tool or technology to make open pedagogy work. One of the most common renewable assignments is adding citations to Wikipedia articles.
  • Scaffold learning. Not all students will be familiar with technology or able to engage with OER as quickly as others. It's important that you scaffold technology support into your teaching so all students can participate equally. 
  • Educate students about copyright. It's important that students who are creating items that might be published and shared openly understand what that means. University librarians can visit your class to make this process easier.
  • Allow for opt-out. 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 level of openness. Allow students to opt out of making their materials public and/or give them the option to remove their name from public documents. 

Tools & Technologies

  • Pressbooks: With the ISU Digital Press' Pressbooks platform, you can create an online text with multiple interactive options, including quizzes and annotation tools. Import an existing text or create one! Depending on the tools you use and what you create, there are a multitude of options for using Pressbooks in your course. Review A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students for more information.
  • Google Docs: have students collaborate with one another to create documents, presentations, or class projects.
  • Hypothes.is: annotate websites and online readings with your students. Let them engage with the material and each other in a more interactive way than discussion boards might allow.
  • Wikibooks: work with students to flesh out, update, or create a new online book that can be used as an introduction to a topic covered in your course. This is a great exercise for students interested in science communication, teaching, or research.


Mavs Open Press. (2021). A Guide to OER Creation with Mavs Open Presshttps://uta.pressbooks.pub/oercreation/