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Open Pedagogy: A Faculty Perspective

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This piece was written by Jeff Newby. Jeff Newby is an Associate Professor of History who teaches primarily in the Rising Scholars Program. In addition to his classes inside the prisons, he also teaches at the new Bakersfield College Southwest Campus. His areas of focus include early U.S. and Modern East Asia. In addition to being the OFAR BC Faculty Lead, he has received in the National Endowment of the Humanities Grant, and is a current CLEAR Fellow.

I was lucky enough to lead the Bakersfield College Open for Anti-Racism (OFAR) 2021-2022 cohort. My focus was to create a non-throwaway assignment in which students could see themselves represented. The Marginalized Voices assignment was the result. It is designed as a mini-research project with the purpose of having students engage with marginalized actors in history. The over arching idea is to help students find themselves in the archives by focusing on self-representation (typically the socio-economic and ethnic groups with which they identify). By providing historical research in the form of primary and secondary documents on figures that have been historically “left out” of the historical narrative, the students will:

  • help fill the gaps in the archive
  • be active in the creation of new curriculum, and
  • gain a better understanding of marginalization and the power of historical memory in the process

In this way the assignment practices open pedagogy (allowing the students to create something that will be used to inform future classes) and creates an archive of marginalized peoples (BIPOP, LGBTQIA+, Women, disabled persons, etc.) in the process.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the assignment on OER Commons.

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