I am currently attending Digital Pedagogy Lab in Fredericksburg, VA and I am in the Critical Open Pedagogy Track. Honestly, Open Pedagogy is a very hard concept to understand, so some of the conversation has gone over my head, but I am starting to feel like I have a good grasp on the concepts. Here is my opinion of the beginning of the ABCs of Open Pedagogy.
In the Open it can be really important to make sure that every student has the correct materials and opportunities. Textbook prices cause students not to be able to pass a class that they need or even drop a class; however, it is important to make sure that every student has the correct materials in this new space. One thing I struggled with as a kid was not having proper internet connection. It wasn’t because of the price (but that is an issue), but instead just because it wasn’t offered where I lived. I had to plan ahead to make sure that I could finish my homework with internet at school or would have to find a different way, and it was a stressful part of my educational journey. Also making sure that the formats are accessible for all people, especially those with disabilities or those speaking a different language is crucial.
It is important for the open community to help support each other. Borrowing ideas from others and helping to support even across the country and the world is important. The collaboration of the community is crucial to help us all to thrive. Putting open textbooks out on sites such as PressBooks for other classes to also use is important to help students learn more and the outreach to be greater.
In my experience, one of the best parts of open learning is the direct collaboration. In my experience the professors and students were equal and we were all working towards one central goal. Have a project that students feel like they can work on and it won’t be thrown away at the end of the semester can be extremely valuable. Personally, I think working with students to create their own textbook that then can help the next class expand and learn for can be a really unique and valuable experience to students.
Open education isn’t always easy and won’t be sunshine and rainbows, but it can make a world of difference for students or the people around you. It can be hard to get started in the open, especially with limited time, money, and energy. Revising a full class to make it open can really be draining and not every aspect will always work. However, each moment is a learning opportunity for you and reaching out to the open community can be extremely helpful.
Even though the term “Student Experience” might haunt me in my grave because no student has the same experience, it is important to put the students first. Personally, I believe offering a wide variety of courses to students can be the answer to have them have the best journey while in higher ed.
A great benefit of OER is the freedom that it can provide. In the open, student assignments have more of a framework instead of a strict rule of requirements. This allows students to use their creativity and let their personality shine through on the assignment and truly turn it into their own.
I am excited to see what the next few day of the conference hold and the future for the Open Pedagogy Community!