:async: Teacher Candidates' Self-Efficacy in Renewable Assignments: Findings from a Mixed-Methods Study in Teacher Education

Authors: Jennifer Van Allen, Stacy Katz
Institution: Lehman College, City University of New York
Country: United States

Topic: Applications of Open Education Practices/Open Pedagogy/Open Education Research
Sector: Higher Education
UNESCO Area of Focus: Building capacity
Session Format: Poster


As Open Educational Resources (OER) become more prevalent in higher education contexts, some instructors are exploring ways to involve students in creating, adapting, and remixing OER. This practice, known as open pedagogy, empowers students to become creators of knowledge and contribute to a global community. In teacher education and primary and secondary education, OER is often underutilized because educators are not familiar with these freely available resources and fewer resources exist in these areas than other disciplines; yet, OER has been shown to increase students’ equitable access to learning materials and improve learning experiences through the potential for personalization, individualization, and contextualization of content (de los Arcos et al., 2016). Given these findings, it is clear that more work needs to be done to increase awareness of OER in education at all levels and increase the breadth of materials available.

This study explored the decisions and perspectives of nine graduate-level teacher education candidates enrolled in a Language, Literacy, and Educational Technology course. Based on an open pedagogy approach, a renewable assignment was integrated into the course. A renewable assignment is one in which the artifact produced has value to others beyond the course, leverages the permissions of OER, and is made available publicly. In this renewable assignment, the candidates produced an open resource for teaching and learning by creating, adapting, or remixing existing OER and were invited to submit their finished artifact to OER Commons (http://oercommons.org).

Utilizing a convergent mixed methods research design (Creswell & Creswell, 2018), the researchers collected quantitative and qualitative data through a survey, follow-up interviews, collection of artifacts, and instructor reflective notes. Quantitative data was analyzed through univariate descriptive methods to describe the artifacts created by the teacher candidates and understand initial perspectives regarding their work. Qualitative data was analyzed through inductive thematic analysis to understand the teacher candidates’ perceptions of the assignment and effects of the assignment on their beliefs and practices.

Results showed that of the nine participants, six (67%) created a new resource, two (22%) remixed existing resources, and one (11%) adapted an existing resource. Three participants (33%) shared their work with an open license in a public class folder, with only one (11%) participant sharing her artifact publicly on OER Commons. The renewable assignment supported the teacher candidates’ understanding of OER overall, with candidates demonstrating positive beliefs about the value and effectiveness of OER. However, the teacher candidates’ self-efficacy stymied their willingness to share their artifact openly in a highly public forum. These results have important implications for future course development involving OER and renewable assignments in teacher education. Renewable assignments are an important way to support teacher candidates in using and developing OER, while also building and sustaining a global OER teacher community and public repository of resources. However, open education practices need to be more widely modeled in teacher education coursework to better support teacher candidates’ self-efficacy with OER.


Teacher education, Primary and secondary education, Open pedagogy, Renewable assignments, Developing quality OER

Hi everyone! Welcome to our posters session. We are excited to share the findings of our work with teacher candidates in creating and sharing OER through a renewable assignment. Please see the attached PDF of our poster for more details.

OEGlobal 2020 Poster.pdf (1.5 MB)

We welcome questions and feedback on our work. Specifically, some questions we pose for discussion are:

  • How can this model be improved for another iteration of the renewable assignment?
  • How can we encourage increased sharing of OER among teacher candidates?
  • What do these findings mean for reimagining open education in teacher preparation and PreK-12 education?

Additional Resources:

I’m thrilled by this research! I reacted to two pieces particularly. First, self-efficacy was the first hurdle I crossed as I moved into using OER and creating OER. I had to trust my own knowledge and expertise. It wasn’t easy. Also, as a parent of a 10th grader, I’ve seen my daughter finally become a learner. She is attending an online high school this year due to Covid. Most of her teachers are using and creating OER. Assignments are meaningful to her for the first time. She doesn’t have to memorize vocabulary for multiple-choice tests. I’m looking forward to this conference as well. In answer to your second question, maybe parents can be important voices. I look forward to more conversation!


@LoriBeth Thanks so much for your thoughts. When we started on this research, we anticipated that the teacher candidates would feel empowered by sharing their work with other educators, so the self-efficacy finding was surprising. We suspect it has something to do with their professional identity which seems more tentative than your personal identity. But, as you and your daughter have experienced, creating open resources is so much more meaningful! That’s an interesting idea about parents. Four of the participants did note that parents provided fantastic feedback about their projects. However, it was more about the product of their artifacts than the feedback on the artifact itself. It’s definitely something to consider moving forward.

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HI - I’m happy to see this work. I am a teacher educator and these results are not surprising, based on my own experiences with engaging teacher candidates in media and digital literacies. I have has some greater success when I was able to connect these new teachers into a network of teachers in the field (classroom teachers, associated teachers). Having them provide feedback on the TC’s work ‘in the open’ can be helpful in building confidence and self efficacy. I’ve looked at Bandura’s conceptions of self-efficacy and Donohoo’s work on collective self-efficacy and wonder if there is potential for a collective self-efficacy within a collaboration between practicing teachers and the TC’s in the production of OERs?
Helen DeWaard