Scholarly Publishing and Open Access blog

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Open educational resources (OER) and open pedagogy in the classroom

Published by Hope Power

In recent weeks, you may have seen a call for applications to the SFU Open Educational Resources (OER) grants program (note: current deadline is November 7th). This program provides funding of up to $5,000 along with staff support to help faculty members redesign a course to adopt or adapt open textbooks or other OER as their primary course material.

So what exactly are open educational resources (OER)? How can the use of OER impact teaching and learning? And what are some examples of how instructors are integrating OER and open pedagogy in their classrooms at SFU and beyond?

OER include any teaching and learning materials that have been made freely available and are openly licensed with legal permissions (e.g. Creative Commons licenses) to use, adapt, and share their content. Examples include open textbooks, videos, learning modules, full-length courses and more. For students, the use of OER in place of expensive commercial textbooks is a means of making learning more affordable and accessible. For instructors, the use of OER presents new opportunities to adapt and customize high-quality, flexible learning resources for their courses. And unlike traditional textbooks, these resources can be freely updated and modified by faculty, students and other collaborators as well.

Open pedagogy refers to a set of innovative teaching approaches and practices made possible through the use of OER in the classroom. The "5R permissions” (i.e. retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute) associated with OER offer new and exciting possibilities for student-centred instructional design. In the words of David Wiley in "What is Open Pedgogy?," traditional course assignments are far too often “disposable” in the sense that they “add no value to the world – after a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away” (2013). Open pedagogy, though, fosters the development of new kinds of “renewable assignments” that invite and empower students to make a meaningful contribution to public discourse and knowledge beyond the classroom walls. A few examples of open pedagogy in practice include student projects to publish in open course journals, collaboratively develop their course syllabus, update and edit Wikipedia entries, or remix and adapt online instructional videos.

For more ideas and examples, check out this video of a recent keynote talk from SFU OER grant recipient Dr. Juan Pablo Alperin (School of Publishing) where he describes why and how he practices open pedagogy as a “starting point for giving students a sense that their knowledge is a public good.” And you can also browse through additional case study examples from other institutions in the Open Pedagogy Notebook.

Interested in adopting OER and exploring open pedagogy in your SFU course? Here’s what you need to know about applying for an OER grant this fall:

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact - Happy Open Access Week 2019!


Wiley, D. (2013). What is open pedagogy? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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