About the CoLab

The Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative at Plymouth State University is a dynamic hub for teaching & learning praxis and community-driven academic professional development.

Our Mission

We are deeply committed to nurturing learning environments that are responsive to student need, that grow from a thoughtful consideration of both disciplinary context and the future of knowledge, and that amplify the impact of the academy on the public good. The Open CoLab is focused on:

  • supporting PSU faculty and staff as they design learner-centered educational environments with special emphasis on Cluster Learning;

  • developing practical and creative possibilities for pedagogical innovation within an integrated academic environment;

  • and inspiring a national conversation about how to build accessible, collaborative, and sustainable public learning ecosystems for the 21st century.

The Open CoLab enacts its commitment to these engaged pedagogies in its approach to faculty and staff development as well: we actively seek to improve and transform traditional professional development methods and to grow and sustain new initiatives from inside Plymouth State’s community of practice.

Our Values

We are committed to a learner-centered approach to education that sees all members of a school — students, staff, faculty, administrators, parents, alumni, community members — as both learners and teachers. As we work alongside each other, we seek to uphold these values:



We strive for a sense of shared purpose that creates a unity between otherwise separate people and groups.


We do not seek to profit off of each other, but to flourish together. We do not work against, we work alongside.


When separate, distinct elements work together, they form a coalition. The elements do not meld together but stand alongside.


We may arrive banged up and in need of healing before we can really learn what we most need to learn.


We must regenerate a sense of education as a public good, of the commons as fertile land, not tragedy. We must regenerate the idea of learning as itself of value.

Our Structure

The Open CoLab is structured around four main kinds of work:

Teaching & Learning Development

We work with the entire PSU community to deepen our understanding of what it means to learn, think, and know in the 21st century. This work is both practical and theoretical.

Community Building & Support

We build opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to share their knowledge and position themselves as peer leaders in campus conversations about teaching and learning.

Interdisciplinary Learning & Exploration

Through the Interdisciplinary Studies major, we pilot innovative teaching strategies and academic structures and bring our perspectives and lessons learned back to the larger PSU community.

Open & Public Research and Advocacy

We encourage our community to engage in conversations about the how and why of open education and how it intersects with ideas of access, public good, and digital literacy.

Cluster Learning

Cluster Learning powers a unique academic environment that supports: integrated and interdisciplinary inquiry and research; project-based learning that extends past the walls of the classroom; and, open infrastructures and approaches that remove barriers and empower students to contribute to the knowledge commons.


Praxis is the linking of theories, ideas, and research about teaching & learning with actual teaching & learning practice.