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What is Open Pedagogy?

Open pedagogy is a form of open educational practices (OEP). It is the practice of engaging with students as creators of information rather than simply consumers of it. It's a form of experiential learning in which students demonstrate understanding through the act of creation. The products of open pedagogy are student created and openly licensed so that they may live outside of the classroom in a way that has an impact on the greater community. Open projects frequently result in the creation of open educational resources (OER).

Definition adapted from Introduction to Open Pedagogy by UTA Libraries, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Renewable Assignments

An essential component of open pedagogy is the renewable assignment. Renewable assignments provide students with opportunities to engage in meaningful work, add value to the world, and provide a foundation for future students to learn from and build upon. Renewable assignments are an alternative to traditional, disposable assignments, which students throw away after they are graded. 

Wiley and Hilton (2018) propose a four-part test for determining if an assignment is renewable:

  1. Are students asked to create new artifacts (essays, poems, videos, songs, etc.) or revise/remix existing OER?
  2. Does the new artifact have value beyond supporting the learning of its author?
  3. Are students invited to publicly share their new artifacts or revised/remixed OER?
  4. Are students invited to openly license their new artifacts or revised/remixed OER?

For example, a traditional assignment of a term paper could be replaced with a renewable assignment where learners create and share openly-licensed resources (textual, visual, etc.) that explain the application of a key concepts in the course, which could be used and built upon by future students.

For a thorough discussion of renewable assignments, see David Wiley's blog post Toward Renewable Assessments.

Definition adapted from Advanced Engagement by Andrea Bearman, licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Examples of Open Pedagogy

One common way to implement open pedagogy is to have students contribute to an OER textbook. This is particularly valuable for a course where few or no open educational resources currently exist, and for courses focused on special topics and/or current events. Below are a few selected examples of student-created OER books; additional examples can be found via the Pressbooks Directory. The OES department recommends using Pressbooks as a means of hosting student-authored content.


Instructors can have students develop standalone OER learning objects, or contribute to existing OER by writing additional content or creating ancillary materials to accompany existing OER. The complexity and length of the assigned project can vary based on student skills, learning objectives of the course, and the time available in the course. This can be as simple as asking students to develop test questions, or as complex as assigning students to create instructional videos.


Wiki Education is an organization that facilitates Wikipedia editing assignments in higher education through the Wikipedia Student Program (WSP). By editing and contributing to Wikipedia, students learn to see themselves as producers rather than consumers of knowledge, and can thereby increase their information literacy skills. These assignments also allow students to feel a sense of ownership and accomplishment, particularly since they publish their work on a well-known online platform that is used on a daily basis by millions of visitors.

In open or collaborative syllabus design, students help determine the content in the course that meets their own learning objectives. Students can help decide how assignments will be selected and structured, identify topics of interest they would like to explore further, and establish expectations for themselves and the instructor.


Support for Open Pedagogy from UH Libraries

Our approach

We collaborate with faculty to:

  • Incorporate open pedagogy into assignments
  • Teach targeted classes focused on open publishing and licensing
  • Provide support for assignments that use Pressbooks
  • Ensure student agency in open pedagogy assignments

To get started, schedule an appointment with Open Education Services.

Ensuring Student Agency

It is important to design open pedagogy assignments that preserve student agency over their work. There are three ways you can do this:

  1. Provide an opportunity for students to opt out of publishing their work openly
    1. Required for all open pedagogy assignments supported by OES 
  2. Allow students to select the open license their work is published under
    1. In some instances, selecting a license for all student contributions may be preferable 
  3. Allow students to select how they will be credited (i.e., allowing students to publish under their legal name or a pseudonym, or publish anonymously)

In order to maximize student agency, we recommend implementing all three methods. Please contact the OES department for recommendations on how to maximize student agency for your particular assignment.

Student Agreement Form

A Student Agreement Form can be used to capture the students’ preferences for whether they would like their work published, under what license would they like it published, and how they would like to be credited. This form can be downloaded and modified for your specific needs.

For projects that use Pressbooks, the OES department can help facilitate the collection of student responses and ensure student preferences are reflected in the final publication.

An agreement form can also be used if instructors select an overall license for all student contributions. For an example, see Samuelson and Hare's Agreement to Contribute to Open Collection from the Short Guides in Education Research Methodologies