Presenting at NEFDC on Open Pedagogy

So yesterday, I had the pleasure to attend and present at the 2017 New England Faculty Development Consortium annual conference at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.  I'm a big fan of this group and this conference because it's a regional conference with a mixture of colleges from community colleges to Ivy League with faculty and faculty support folks like myself having workshops centered around a particular theme.  This one is about open educational resources and to no one's surprise, I put in a proposal for presenting and to my delight, it got accepted.  My presentation focused on thinking about making assignments more than what they usually are by using an open pedagogy framework.  With open pedagogy, the idea is that you provide learning activities and assignments that have the possibility of living after a class.  So often we assign students work that that essential dies once the class is over, but open pedagogy gets us to think about how to make the most out of what we (instructor and students) do in the classroom.  

For instance, we often have the student do a research paper or a 5-paragraph essay.  Both are useful but there are ways of extending that.  What if that essay becomes a series of blog posts developed around a subject and thus the student must not only write his/her ideas, but also engage in dialogue around those ideas or have future students learn from their work?  Similarly with the research paper, what if that research was made more interactive (through creating it as a wiki) or longer-lasting (becomes a reading for a future class)?  Ultimately, open pedagogy encourages educators to think more holistically about the students' learning within the course and beyond.    

There are many different ways that one could use open pedagogy to increase the reach, purpose, and value of traditional assignments for both the instructor and the students.  The presentation I give today (to which you can browse through) gives a handful of examples.  Hopefully, by the end of the presentation (given the activity I have them doing), there will be even more examples to be found in the Presentation Materials.  

Written feedback from the participants.
And the audience seemed to really enjoy it!
I have to say--I don't know if it was my preparedness for this workshop or just the dynamic people that happened to attend (it's likely to be both), but it was really a great workshop that everyone seemed to enjoy and take something from.  I set it up so that I spent no more than 15 minutes introducing open pedagogy and providing some examples and then the rest of the workshop was the participants talking with one another and sharing ideas, providing feedback and such.  The final five minutes was people sharing their ideas and asking follow up questions.  For a session that was just after lunch (a yummy lunch with tasty desserts too boot), they were lively and attentive, which made the workshop all the more enjoyable. 

I always love being able to create and deliver workshops that people find valuable so it was amazing to see the energy in the room and get the feedback that I did.  One participant kindly said as she was thanking me that this was the best part of what was already a great day because this gave her something tangible to bring back to her campus.  I thanked her for such sweet words and encouraged her to contact me if she wanted additional help.  

I also appreciate the open education community because there is such an enthusiasm about the work that we're doing, a sense of collaboration, and of course, a willingness to share materials, resources, and ideas.  I look forward to doing more work with open educational resources, open education, and open access research in the future.  

Are you using open pedagogy (knowingly or otherwise?)?  What do you see that's valuable about it?  What concerns about it do you have?

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