Inclusive and Open Pedagogies

inclusive photo

Educause Review recently published three blog posts on inclusive & open pedagogies written by Amanda McAndrew, Caroline Sinkinson, and Deborah Keyek-Franssen of the University of Colorado. Together, these blogs explore the intersections of inclusive and open practices to inspire conversation about how we might use these pedagogies to enhance learning opportunities and experiences at our institutions. The posts are as follows:

  1. Inclusive and Open Pedagogies
  2. The Values of Open Pedagogy
  3. 5 Tips for Supporting Inclusive and Open Pedagogies

Amanda McAndrew differentiates inclusive pedagogy and open pedagogy as follows:

Inclusive pedagogical practice seeks to create equity in the learning opportunities offered, where all learners are supported in participating and contributing to a shared learning experience. In this context, inclusion means anything from providing captioned videos, to assignments that encourage and acknowledge life experiences, to teachers and students co-creating knowledge.

Open pedagogy encourages reflective practice, the sharing of ideas and resources, choice in expression, and posing open-ended problems that accept many diverse solutions created by diverse learners.

Caroline Sinkinson identifies four values of open pedagogy that the authors promote and encourage in teaching.

  1. Access and Equity. Commitment to reducing barriers that prevent equitable access to education, including economic, technical, social, cultural, and political factors. (see Maha Bali and Christina Hendricks)

  2. Community and Connection. Commitment to facilitating connections across the boundaries of learning experiences, classrooms, campuses, countries, communities, and viewpoints. This might include inviting authentic student collaboration with peers, experts, and the public. (see Robin DeRosa and Bronwyn Hegarty)

  3. Agency and Ownership. Commitment to protecting agency and ownership of one’s own learning experiences, choices of expression, and degrees of participation. (see Rosen and Smale)

  4. Risk and Responsibility. Commitment to interrogate tools and practices that mediate learning, knowledge building, and sharing and to resist the treatment of open as neutral. (see Jesse Stommel and Audrey Watters)

And Deborah Keyek-Franssen offers five tips for supporting open and inclusive pedagogy, demonstrating ways that IT, academic technology, and library units can support open pedagogies across different learning modalities.

  1. Create a mini advisory team: You might be surprised by how many people on your campus are invested in and working on student success and inclusivity. Invite a handful of them to coffee and conversation as a way to identify cross-campus expertise. You might look across libraries, IT and academic technology groups, and also to faculty development, instructional design, advising, diversity, accessibility, and student success units.

  2. Choose a few practices for initial support: Use these expert advisors to identify a few easy-win inclusive and open practices that might align well with campus goals or might be straightforward for faculty to understand and implement. CIRTL’s Inclusive Pedagogy Framework is an excellent place to start the discussion. Collect research on the effectiveness of those practices and examples from peer institutions that have experimented with them.

  3. Adapt those practices for different teaching modalities: Invite your experts and some faculty members for an interactive discussion in which they consider all the ways a particular method (for instance, creating a welcoming, inclusive environment) might play out in hybrid or online courses or in face-to-face classes of all sizes.

  4. Create messaging and resources to encourage experimentation with those practices: Use the results of those discussions to create an inclusive and open teaching “tip of the week” that pops up for faculty—either in your LMS or in whatever community messaging you use. Topics could include a reminder to send a welcome message to students the week before classes begin, or words to use to encourage respectful online interactions between students. If you have a repository of teaching resources on campus, a slide template that describes appropriate words and behaviors for students may help instructors of large-lecture classes feel more comfortable with small group discussions. Reference research on the effectiveness of the practices in your tips and resources.

  5. Provide joint training sessions: Instead of going it alone, IT and academic technology units that provide educational technology training can weave inclusive and open practices into their faculty sessions. Invite your experts to give concrete examples of how those practices play out in the digital world, and encourage faculty to use their newly acquired technology skills to experiment with them.

Open and inclusive pedagogies seem custom-made for teaching adult students and working professionals. Yet our presence on a private university campus introduces some interesting tensions. For example, while our counterparts on public campuses have been required to address accessibility issues in instructional technologies (among other requirements, captioning all online video content and ensuring LMS components are fully accessible), we have only been encouraged to make our resources fully accessible. We can and probably should do more.

CoP Note: In what ways are you implementing open and inclusive pedagogies in your classroom? What challenges do you face? What successes can you share? Post to the listserve or respond here.

Daniel Hocutt

Web Manager and Adjunct Professor of English for the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies.