Can Open Pedagogy Encourage Care? Student Perspectives




open pedagogy, ethics of care, inclusion, student perspectives


As a response to the increasing commercialization of postsecondary education, educators argue for a practice of care in education. Open pedagogy (OP) seems like an ideal practice where care, trust, and inclusion can be realized. OP is characterized as a democratic and collaborative pedagogical practice, in which students and teachers work to co-create learning and knowledge using openly licensed materials, open platforms, and other open processes. The purposes of this study were, first, to reveal ways students in postsecondary institutions perceive care and, second, to determine how students suggest OP can be used to create an open/caring learning process. A task-oriented focus group method engaged students from four teaching-focused institutions. The students created open cases on social issues for class discussion and reflected on care and OP processes in postsecondary settings. Using four elements of the ethics of care—attentiveness, responsibility, competence, and trustworthiness—as conceptual categories, the study examined students’ experience of care and care in OP using affective coding and thematic analysis. The results showed that through OP, with teacher support and explicitly designed practices of care, students can assert their agency, have quintessential roles in creating and participating in highly relevant curriculum and importantly, care about others, and be cared for. OP is a process able to involve a diverse population of students and embody care as an all-encompassing practice.

Author Biographies

Deirdre Maultsaid, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Deirdre Maultsaid (M. Ed, University of British Columbia) teaches Applied Communications at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and was the KPU Open Education Research Fellow for 2021. Deirdre has co-written with university students an Open Educational Resource widely available on open education platforms: Cases on Social Issues: For Class Discussion- 2nd Edition. Her current research interests are writing, Open Pedagogy, the ethics of care and the inclusion and engagement of marginalized university students. Deirdre is also a creative writer with many publications to her name.

Michelle Harrison, Thompson Rivers University

Dr. Michelle Harrison is a Senior Instructional Designer and Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University—Open Learning and is the past Chair of the Learning Design and Innovation department. Her research interests lie in learning design, open educational practices, and designing learning spaces with emerging educational technologies. She has a PhD in e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning from Lancaster University, where she focused on exploring how we perceive and use space in networked learning environments.


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How to Cite

Maultsaid, D., & Harrison, M. (2023). Can Open Pedagogy Encourage Care? Student Perspectives . The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 24(3), 77–98.



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