1.2 OER-enabled pedagogy
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium–digital or otherwise–that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adoption, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. OERs can be textbooks, courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other learning object.
The "open" in open educational resources indicates that these materials are legally licensed to provide permission for everyone to participate in the 5R activities - retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute (definition by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation). Retaining a resource means being able to own and share it, for instance downloading a Creative Commons-licensed article or textbook on your personal computer. Reusing refers to sharing the same PDF with others, or using it in multiple classes. Revising said resource implies adding or removing portions, translating it into another language, or putting in your own images. Remixing involves changing around parts of the article and perhaps adding excerpts from another openly licensed work. And, lastly, redistributing means sharing the article in its new form with the same (or more open) license, so that the process can continue downstream. The users of open educational resources therefore have a broad swath of permissions that would not be possible in the context of a traditional commercial copyright.
Linked to, and happening simultaneously with, the rise of OERs, the phenomenon of open education--learning without barriers to admission or use of materials--has made it possible for students to use an E-book like this one alongside, or instead of, more traditional course objects such as a textbook or workbook.
You and your students can also share the products of your learning. By responding and adding to this e-Book, students themselves become the creators of educational content, engaging in open, or OER-enabled, pedagogy which, according to David Wiley and John Hilton (2018), can be defined as a “set of teaching and learning practices that are only possible or practical in the context of the 5R permissions which are characteristic of OER.” This definition emphasizes the affordances behind this type of education more than any particular outcome. In the words of Iowa State University’s Abbey Elder (2019), “depending on the source you consult, open pedagogy might be a series of practices, a learning style, or a state of mind.” It is, moreover, a philosophy with revolutionary implications for education which is firmly backed by legal permissions.
Open pedagogy calls upon the course instructor to take on the role of facilitator to help engage students in not just working through a given set of problems but also creating their own content (from scratch, through adapting or remixing), which should then be made available to their peers. Examples of materials created include study guides, lesson plans, quizzes and test questions. Open textbooks, open platforms (e.g. MyOpenMath), e-Books (e.g. Manifold, Pressbooks), wikis, and video presentations represent some of the principal ways in which these course materials can be published.
Here, according to Wiley and Hilton (2018), are the questions to ask to determine whether your students are engaged in open pedagogy:
Are students asked to create new artifacts (essays, poems, videos, songs, etc.) or revise/remix existing OER?
Does the new artifact have value beyond supporting the learning of its author?
Are students invited to publicly share their new artifacts or revised/remixed OER?
Are students invited to openly license their new artifacts or revised/remixed OER?
We encourage you to make your students’ work part of this resource in an iterative process that is dynamic, democratic and--dare we say it?--fun.
By Katherine Tsan