As I reflect on the past term one of the big changes for me was how consciously open and flexible the course was in many ways. The course website was open and students had the choice of how they wanted to meet the learning outcomes. Not only were they involved in defining what the project would be they could choose how they shared their work. Rubrics in the course were also co-created. They defined how they wanted to participate, which ended up including syndication of their blog to this website, use of Google Docs, posting inside Moodle or on Facebook. This flexibility was inspired by my participation in Jenni’s Making Sense of Open Education MOOC, which was reflected on here. They also got to negotiate their grades with me, which ended up occurring in a variety of flexible ways in person, through video feedback, email and a few students opted-out of the process at the end of the course (which is also open). Throughout the course, I also blogged about my perspective of what was happening in the course. This openness was a good conversation starter for students.

Pexels / Pixabay

Recently the recording for a collaborative webinar was released in which several of us reflected on our experiences in open practice (below). If you listen you might notice that openness looks different in a variety of contexts. You can be open without doing all of the things I tried this term. As it turns out the course was very open and so was I – a brief overview is discussed in the webinar below. Please click here for the slides.

Still Growing

In tonight’s post, I cannot possibly explore all the nuances of what happened. So much happened and is still evolving (I am not done negotiating grades). It is only by taking some small (and maybe large) steps into the unknown of openness in my context that I could explore the best ways to make it work for students. This term was by no means perfect. There was likely too much choice – students seemed overwhelmed at first. Students need deadlines. I need one clear place to look for assignments. In the future, I hope to share more lessons learnt from negotiating grades with students on this blog as well as in future research.

Flash Back: Open-Assessment: It’s Just Good Pedagogy #OER

The words below were written about 10 months ago and left in draft form on my blog (dated February 20, 2018). Looking back this is where my consciously open assessment journey all started.

As a fellow with eCampusOntario, I got to spend a fun-filled day learning about open pedagogy and planning for future activities with a group of innovative educators from across Ontario. One of the points of discussion was the concept of open assessment of student learning.

Last Wednesday, after spending a Saturday with a group of Fellows at eCampusOntario I had an epiphany.

Open assessment can take a variety of forms. The big take away from the day at eCampusOntario was that open assessment is different from open evaluation.

Where will openness take me next?

Are you ready for a small (or large) step into openness?

In The Cambrian Hub, we are here to help! Reach out.  We have bi-weekly open discussions and would love to welcome you. The richness in our discussion comes from the diverse perspectives of many faculty who have ventured into empowering students through open pedagogy.

Laura Killam


PS for Students: One of you mentioned being unsure if you should comment on my blog or not – if you want to please go for it. I will approve all of your comments and welcome opposing views to anything said. You can even post with a fake name if you want. Good luck on your upcomming exams!


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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