explorations in the ed tech world

same sounds-different meanings

Category: open

Translation of Paquette 1979 article on open pedagogy (first half)

Some Foundations of Open Pedagogy

(First half of the translation of Claude Paquette’s 1979 article on open pedagogy:  Claude Paquette “Quelques fondements d’une pédagogie ouverte.” Québec français 36 (1979): 20–21.)

Note:  a later article (2005) is over here, and if you run it through Google Translate it actually does a really good job of translation from French to English.  The 2005 article understandably has a much more academically grounded and situated description of open pedagogy.

For more than 10 years now, teachers in Quebec are trying to integrate an open pedagogy into their daily practices. This pedagogical approach has been the object of several publications which have underlined both the foundations of this approach and its practices. It is important to underline that this pedagogy is in constant evolution and that the diversity of attempts of educators allow for further articulations, de look at the nuances, the resources and the limits of this pedagogy.

Open pedagogy is not a collection of pedagogical procedures applied in class that then result in the same outcomes of any other pedagogy. It is actually a way of thinking and a way of acting. It consists of an innovative way to view the educational act/endeavor. Evidently, there are procedures and proposed tools. However they have no value if they aren’t used in conjunction with the foundations that shape the tenants of an open pedagogy.

Open pedagogy is centered on the class interaction between the student and the educational environment that is proposed. From this interaction, significant connections will be revealed for the student that will allow him/her to begin a learning process. The educator therefore has the primary role of contributing to the creation of this educational environment. For the champions of open pedagogy, creating the educational environment has three levels: the creation of a physical class environment, learning activities, and instructor intervention. These three dimensions are obviously interrelated.

Some basic principles

  1. Open pedagogy is based on the respect for individual differences

 Students are all different and they learn in different ways. Too often these differences are only perceived as being about different speeds of learning. In my view, the differences can be found at various levels and it is essential that the educator be aware of that. Students are different from one another in terms of: their interests, their concerns, their speed of learning, their cognitive style, their talents, their previous experiences, etc…It will therefore be important for the educator to encourage learning situations that are broad enough to allow for respecting these differences and to call on them.

  1. Open pedagogy is based on individual development

 The goal of the learning is to arrive at an individual development. Every person is unique and it is necessary that they find themselves in an environment that will allow them to develop according to their own individuality. Individulising learning development is not synonymous with individualism. Individualising learning development implies much more of a global and personalized development. Both can be performed in close relationship with the other. Seen under this light, classroom learning can’t limit itself to the accumulation of information contained within a program. Learning should be situated at several levels of consciousness:

  • Information necessary to understand the world
  • The development of skills to realize their own potential
  • The relationship between themselves and others
  • The relationship between themselves and the social context/social world
  • Etc…

Open pedagogy practices tries to promote learning situations that integrate these different levels rather than separate them.

  1. Open pedagogy is based on an indirect influence of the educator

Educating is an act of influence. In open pedagogy, this perspective is accepted. At that moment the educator plays an important role. Despite this, we believe that the influence of the educator should be indirect. There is an influence, and therefore an intervention, but one that is adapted to the conditions and the to the evolution of the student. The educator doesn’t intervene in order to cram the student with content but rather to help them find their way according to their differences and potential.

  1. Open pedagogy is based on a natural learning process derived from the internal strength/dynamism of the student

If we are talking about a natural learning process we are also talking about a complex phenomenon.   It’s not sufficient to tell the student to go develop his/herself and expect them to do it. Respecting a natural learning process implies that we create a sufficiently rich and diversified environment so that the student can respond and undertake their learning.






Openness and Teaching, Learning, and Student Success

I’m speaking at this year’s CICAN conference in a couple of weeks, and was asked to do an additional session for the Teaching, Learning, and Student Success stream.  This year’s conference theme aims to “showcase the contribution of colleges and institutes in transforming communities and building a more prosperous and equitable Canada which embraces diversity and inclusion, openness and a strong sense of pride” and since I’m fresh from my fabulous #OER17 experience, I thought I’d do a session called Teaching, Learning, and Student Success in the Context of Open.  

That title doesn’t really say much, so I’m framing it around these questions:

  1. What do we gain as institutions when we care about open?

Greater opportunities to collaborate with others – I think BCcampus and the BC higher ed sector are a good example of this in action. And of course I’ll point to our Open Ed Tech Collaborative and BC WordPress Co-Op.

Greater institutional visibility – JIBC has some measurable examples of this, but it would be nice to have stories from others.

A shift towards a different concern for students – does caring about open at an institutional level result in a different type of caring about our students? I feel  like it does, but can’t put forward an example at this point.

More control over resources such as technologies, textbook publication cycles and specialized subject matter – Again, JIBC has some concrete examples of this, but it would be nice to know whether this has also been the experiences and a ‘win’ for others.

2.  How does open contribute to student success? 

Open textbooks do reduce costs for students and do result in equal or better outcomes –  I can dive a bit into articles that address the question of better outcomes such as this one by John Hilton III  and this one by Feldstein but would love some other examples, even narratives, about how it does or doesn’t contribute to student success.

Open as an ethos that students can take with them into the “real world” aka. their professional lives – this was something that I heard Clint Lalonde and Amanda Coolidge mention in a recent interview and it really resonated with me as something that could be talked about a bit more in a broader social context.

3.  How are teaching and learning improved or how do they benefit from openness?

The opportunity for open pedagogy and open practices – The obvious work to point to here is Robin DeRosa’s thinking about open pedagogy, as well Robin’s and other’s examples where students create open textbooks.  I’m not sure there’s any research out there that says teaching and learning is improved as a result of open but I think it could be postulated that it opens up new possibilities, which in itself is a good thing and an important step.

I can also point to this study by Jhangiani et al ,  in which faculty perceived “that the use of OER in the classroom benefited their students and had a positive impact on their teaching practice”.


I’d love to be able to point to other examples, so if you have any from your own institutions I’d appreciate it if you could add a comment or send a quick tweet to @tanbob.  I PROMISE I’ll compile all the info into a neat and tidy post that can be made available to everybody.  Or if somebody has already done this somewhere else, I hope somebody will point me to that*. Pretty please.

*I will be pointing to the OER Knowledge Cloud  and the OER Hub