A Pedagogy of “Small”: Principles and Values in Small, Open, Online Communities

Elias, T., Ritchie, L., Gevalt, G. and Bowles, K. (2020) A Pedagogy of “Small”: Principles and Values in Small, Open, Online Communities. In: Open(ing) education: Theory and practice. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands,, pp. 364-389. ISBN 9789004422988

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Innovation in open teaching and learning has become increasingly attentive to the commercial potential for scaling up as witnessed by the growth of massive open online courses (MOOCs) since 2012 (Urrea, Reich, & Thille, 2017). This attention intensifies under conditions of austerity and disruption, as both educational institutions and their technology company partners search for new markets and new means of profitable operation, targeting learners locally and across the world to whom education can be delivered with maximum efficiency and minimum cost. Drafting open pedagogy into this effort is troubling and invites us to revisit poorly-cited open education theories from the 1970s (see Rolfe, 2016) in order to understand the ecologies that shape open learning in the present.
This chapter is influenced by early work in open pedagogy (Katz, 1972; Paquette, 2005; Spodek, 1970). Using two relatively small, non-profit platform projects as examples, our aim is to revisit the community-centered philosophy of open pedagogy found in this early work and to ask new questions about scale while searching for productive ways to release open learning practices from their current institutional harness. We begin with an introduction of key terms and then offer an overview of our two examples, #smallstories and Young Writers Project (YWP), and a brief description of our research methodology. Finally, using Paquette’s (2005) value pairs as a foundation, we explore these case studies more fully using words gathered both directly from the sites and through interviews with participants. Combining these, we suggest and discuss the possibility that small open online communities enable peer-based pedagogy in ways that larger ones might not.

Publication Type: Book Sections
Additional Information: E-Book ISBN: 978-90-04-42298-8 Publication Date: 20 Jan 2020 Hardback ISBN: 978-90-04-42297-1 Publication Date: 30 Jan 2020 Paperback ISBN: 978-90-04-42296-4 Publication Date: 30 Jan 2020 Unless otherwise indicated, this material is protected by copyright and has been made available with authorization from the copyright owner. You may use this material in any way that is permitted by the Copyright Act or through licensing that has been assigned to the document. For uses that are not allowable under copyright legislation or licensing, you are required to seek permission.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Education and Teaching
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Laura Ritchie
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2019 15:20
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 15:03
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/4812

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