Opening thoughts

Yesterday I managed to find time for the Webinar on Open Pedagogy with BCCampus. This was part of the Teaching with WordPress open course that I really should join officially.

The idea (or attitude) of Open fascinates me. OERs get a lot of attention, at least in some circles, which is a good thing, but there’s more to Open than that. Open courses have gotten a lot of press, good and bad, but there’s more to it than that. Open pedagogy, as far as I know, is much less discussed, but deserves the attention.

In the webinar chat someone suggested that Open Learning might be a better term than Open Pedagogy. Maybe pedagogy doesn’t seem learner-centric enough. Grant Potter brought up Open Learning Design, which is a term I like:

I remember being in a webinar on MOOCs and Instructional Design or something like that, where I questioned whether ID made sense in a MOOC. One of the IDers told me the principles still apply. Maybe that’s true, if one takes an instructivist approach, but by its very nature that seems less than Open to me. One of the #twp15 linked resources is Stephen Downes’ presentation on Design Elements in a Personal Learning Environment, which includes a slide on Design Principles:

open design principlesAutonomy, openness, diversity and interactivity are the four cornerstones of any good MOOC. Autonomy fundamentally changes pedagogy, I think, because it changes the goals from what the teacher (or institution) prescribes to what the learner wants to achieve. And that necessitates open activities, open assessment, and open outcomes in order to support the diverse goals of a community of learners. Having defined outcomes and objectives is a kind of closedness. When the closedness is taken away, I’m not sure instructional design can work. It’s no longer about getting certain content across. It’s about the knowledge that emerges from communication and cooperation among the community. So the design has to be not so much instructional as environmental, putting together a situation that facilitates diversity, interactivity, autonomy and openness. Those four principles demand a lot of learners though. That’s something I need to flesh out in more detail.

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