A creative approach to project design for Open Education Practitioners

The pandemic brought a tsounami of changes to HEIs and this rapid transition required resourcefulness and creativity to seek solutions that are simple, flexible and stimulating, for students and educators.

For the MSc in Open Educational Leadership at University of Nova Gorica, we organised a Workshop module during the Summer Semester 2020/21. Our aim was to create opportunities to actively engage students in the learning process, by experimenting and sharing their ideas with us and their peers. Students worked on their own contextual open education (OE) projects which formed the basis of their assessment (portfolio and professional discussion). These projects were authentic, leading to a life and implementation beyond the module. We will be sharing our experience and lessons learnt from the facilitator and student perspective to provide food-for-thought to others who may be considering embarking on a similar journey.

Our design aimed to create opportunities for hands-on practical experiential learning through OE projects.Creativity, as concept can pose challenges to institutions and is often rejected and stopped however, during the pandemic, creativity and resourcefulness were perceived as more welcome and needed than ever before and many educators engaged in experimentation, innovating in their practice.

The module consisted of 5 phases 1. Introducing, 2. Exploring, 3. Designing, 4. Testing, 5. Evaluating and, was structured to scaffold for peer-to-peer learning, taking students on a journey through a practical project-based learning model. Our pedagogical approach was evidence-informed and characterised by tutor support, using learning activities, choice and creating a learning community (Nerantzi, 2017; Nerantzi & Atenas, 2021).

We enabled peer-to-peer exchanges from early on to sustain and grow peer-relationships to prevent dependency on tutor support, but instead, feeling part of a learning community that included them and others beyond the module, boosting motivation and learning, as research has shown that, especially during the pandemic, students often missed peer-working activities feeling lonely and disconnected from social interactions (Dunbar-Morris et al., 2021).

The module was an intense, immersive and exhilarating experience for everyone. It required careful planning to facilitate safe spaces for learning. The aspirations and ideas of our students were our pedagogic ethos; it was important for us from the outset to help them open-up to trust the process, themselves, their peers and us. Students understood early on that the responsibility for learning lay with them, and that active engagement in the process was essential for their progress and success. They were focused and highly motivated throughout. Their feedback suggests that our approach made them work hard, reduced barriers for sharing half-baked ideas and helped them explore their plans within a learning community. They said “I learnt the power of collaboration” “the student engagement was implemented in a way, comprising the cognitive, affective-motivational and behavioural aspects of learning.” Students learnt experientially through making, on and off screen, leading to the creation of authentic projects which they planned to apply in real life. This opportunity turned assessment into a meaningful and highly personalised activity that had value beyond gaining academic credits for a module.


:eye_in_speech_bubble: Presented by:: Javiera Atenas, Chrissi Nerantzi
:sun: Conference Track: Special session
:spiral_calendar: Track Date/Time: 2022-05-23T14:40:00Z (your local time)
:speech_balloon: Language: English
:calling: Pretalx link: A creative approach to project design for Open Education Practitioners :: Open Education Global 2022 :: pretalx


Authors are asked to reply below with links to presentation materials, videos, and other relevant resources, as well as posting prompts for discussion.

Conference participants can reply below with questions, comments for the presenters or to share related resources. And please add anything relevant from this session as an annotation to a specific part of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.