Open and Accessibile Education

Eric Spieth

Summer 2019

The Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative (Open CoLab) manifests the catalyst and spark for a collective transformative innovation in campus-wide pedagogy. The Open CoLab has ignited a grass roots foreground of faculty thought-leaders into a coalition of change makers, a unified front with a voice. The collective represents a dynamic focus on student centered initiatives for empowerment and success. Inherent to the movement of Cluster Pedagogy is an embrace of the antidotes to the persistent stasis of governing dynamics[1], replaced by three fundamentals: Accessibility, Learner-Driven and inherently Connectivist. i.e. Building Community.

The Open Colab informs and empowers a Cluster Pedagogy Learning Community through alignment, development, collaboration, support and cohesion. A united front.

The dimensions of Cluster Pedagogy activate and inform the Four Tools of Integrated Clusters:

Cluster Pedagogy [2]:

Interdisciplinarity and integration

Project-based work that extends beyond the wall of the classroom

Sharing with an external audience

(DeRosa 2019)

Empowers and unifies, the Four Tools [3]:

1. First-Year Seminar
2. Open Laboratories
3. Gen Ed Direction Courses (if themed and possibly with certificates)
4. Integrated Capstone Experience (Junior or Senior Year)

(Birx 2017)

diagram conceptualizing the four tools of clusters
A Conceptualization of the Four Tools of Clusters

The proposed Apex Community Impact Open Lab realizes this cross-pollination and synthesis by activating persistent course-based Open labs at scale. Open labs become the crossroads where on-campus applied experiential learners meet engaged external partners on-site and collaborate in finding solutions to challenging, persistent and ‘wicked’ problems.

The initiative represents the fusion of Open laboratories and ‘Real World Projects’.

 Open Laboratories

Through the use of open labs, you will collaborate with other students from a variety of majors on projects with partners from local businesses and organizations.

Real-World Projects

Plymouth State students work with faculty and community partners on projects that span multiple disciplines and develop a student’s understanding of and experience with dynamic teams. Explore example projects:


[1] Governing dynamics as defined by the: (Noun) Nash equilibrium – (game theory) a stable state of a system that involves several interacting participants in which no participant can gain by a change of strategy as long as all the other participants remain unchanged.


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