Approaches to Design

Open Education

The concept of "open education" is an evolving approach that currently includes a wide continuum from using open educational resources (OERs) to "build" your course (that you continue to design with an overriding traditional approach) to designing courses that integrate open teaching practices, open co-creation of learning activities and artifacts, and resharing into the open community.

An early approach

A straightforward "open" approach to course design is the "5R Open Course Design Framework." David Wiley has been a long-time leader in the field of "open" and his "5Rs" approach (i.e., Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute) emphasizes a change in thinking in design and teaching practices. While his approach still follows traditional design practices (such as Mager's Audience-Behavior-Condition-Degree method for writing learning objectives and constructive alignment of course elements) his "open" approach emphasizes an "authentic" learning perspective in designing "renewable assignments", involving students in reviewing, re-organizing and improving course materials, and encouraging students to "share back" by open-licensing their creations.

Open pedagogies, but...

To protect students privacy, and to maintain some confidentiality that educational institutions may require, educators can choose to use open pedagogies as part of their design and development of a course within a "closed" learning management system BUT they will add some components that open their teaching practice to the Internet. One example is visible on the website The Non-Disposable Assignment, by Michael Paskevicius, while he worked at Vancouver Island University (he's now at University of Victoria).

If you have time, browse some of the examples of open online education from University of BC

"Wide Open" Course Designs
Open design courses may follow a connectivist or network-theory approach to learning. Some well-known examples of completely open, online, connected courses are:
  • ds106 Digital Storytelling, an open, online course from University of Mary Washington. First run "open" in 2012.
  • #PHONAR, a free and open undergraduate photography course. runs periodically, open structure and resources to view
  • Connected Courses: Active Co-Learning in Higher Ed, a self-paced yet collaborative model of open design intended to "provide educational offerings that make high quality, meaningful, and socially connected learning available to everyone. Offered Sept-Dec 2014 - structures and resources still available for use.
Other places to watch
Stories of teaching in the open and guides to finding various OERs can be explored on the Open UBC site.  Check out some of the partners to Open Education in Canada - a collection of note is available from Yukon University - for students but useful links for educators too.
You can also go to the Creative Commons site: Education / OER  to find various US-based repositories or organizations such as OER Commons


BCcampus OpenEd (2016). The Canada OER Group: Saving students money from coast to coast, news posting Jun 29, 2016.

Open UBC, What is teaching in the open? Teach -  see also Open resources, Open assignments, Open practice, Resources (accordions following the main article) - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Creative Commons, Education / OER website, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

OER Commons, Open Educational Resources, by Subject, by Grade Levels, by Materials Types, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License

David Wiley, (2015) 5R Open Course Design Framework, Fall 2015 Version, Slideshare, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

CUSO Professional Education, (2014) The ABCD Method of Writing Measurable Objectives (pdf)

Hibbitts, Paul (2015) Flipped-LMS Approach Using an Open and Collaborative Web Platform, blog post December 18, 2015, Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License (on Github)

Hibbitts, Paul (2014) Developing a course in the open: a case study, on SLIDES, presented at ETUG Spring Workshop 2014