Open Educational Practices (OEP)


Cronin and MacLaren (2018) reviewed the evolving definitions of Open Educational Practices (OEP) in the academic literature over the past 14 years. They identified four theoretical conceptualisations of OEP prevalent in the literature, from 3 European OER/OEP projects, and one body of research from an academic unit, as summarized in the Table  below:

Four key strands of OEP research cited in the literature
  OLCOS Project OPAL Initiative UKOER Programme CILT Research
Year 2006-07 2010-11 2009-12 2009-Present
Scope Europe Europe UK Africa/Global South

“Practices that involve students in active, constructive engagement with content, tools, and services in the learning process, and promote learners’ self-manage-

Ment,creavity, and working in teams”

(Geser, 2007)

“Practices which support the (re)use and production of OER through institutional policies, promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path”

(Andrade et al., 2011)

6 practices:

1) OER production, management, use, and reuse; 2) open/public pedagogies;

3) open learning;

4) open scholarship;

5) open sharing of teaching ideas;

6) use of open technologies


(Beetham et al., 2012)

5 dimensions of openness:

1)    Technical

2)    Legal

3)    Cultural

4)    Pedagogical

5)    Financial


Williams, 2014)

Note* Adapted from Cronin & MacLaren (2018).

The authors posit that all four conceptualizations focus on both OER and collaborative pedagogical practices as a means of transforming education. Of these, the UKOER and CILT conceptualizations of OEP are the most expansive, with a broad view of scholarship, including research and teaching, the potential decoupling of OER and OEP, the importance of context in OEP use, and the need for inclusion of diversity and equity perspectives.


Cronin and MacLaren (2018) consider Open Pedagogy to be a subset of OEP focused on teaching and learning that embodies a critical approach to pedagogy and emphasizes context.

Read examples of  OEP at course and program levels in the Open Pedagogy Notebook. Contributions include descriptions of assignments, textbooks, and student perspectives.