Oscar Baechler
Arts and Humanities, Graphic Arts, Visual Arts, Higher Education
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration, Homework/Assignment, Lesson, Student Guide, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study
High School, Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
  • Choice-based Arts Education
  • Constructivism
  • Design
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Digital Art
  • Game
  • Non-disposable Assignments
  • Open Pedagogy
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Teaching for Artistic Behavior
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Open Pedagogy Assignment Creation


    This document provides a template for students to design and execute a three phase project as an alternative to a default 3 phase project. Its original usage was in art, design, and game classes that devided a class quarter into 4 projects, each taking roughly two to three weeks and broken into three default phases (preproduction, revisions, and final.)  Students should start by creating a copy of the example three phase project template and replacing sections with their own project-specific content. This framework pursued educational concepts such as choice-based arts education, teaching for artistic behavior, project-based learning, differentiated instruction and constructivism as natural complements to the process of open pedagogy and non-disposable assignments. 

    Open Pedagogy Assignment Creation


    CREATE your own assignment that aligns to the course learning outcomes, SHARE the assignment under a CC license, and then DO the assignment you designed. You can start by making a copy of this Three Week Project Template and replacing the template text with your own. For future classes, your project will be an option students can choose from the Open Pedagogy Projects Repository 


    Open Pedagogy is an educational model in which the student CREATES the assignment, rather than just DOING the assignment. By releasing it under a CC license, their assignment adds to the Commons for others to benefit from, and allows the professor to pass the resource onto future classes. The result is that the student’s efforts have real world impact, and a usefulness beyond the class. How many research papers have you completed, only to toss out, with nobody ever reading them again? In this format, students create a non-disposable assignment (NDA) that can continue to influence classes in the future. 

    Criteria for Success

    Your project should include a MINIMUM of a 1 page printed handout, which could be distributed to a class as a starting point before trying it out. This handout should include instructions, graphics, Do’s and Don’t’s, supplies, and examples. The instructions don’t require writing; consider the elegance of Ikea style instructions. 

    Take pictures or video that record your process. 

    Your project should also include an example of the process you used. If you are providing instructions for making comics, there should be an example comic that you make. If you are providing instructions for baking and decorating a cake, there should be a cake at the end (preferably in class!)  

    Although the assignment is released under CC by, the content created by the student while doing the assignment is their IP to do with as they please. 


    100 points total. 

    • 25 points: The Assignment design

    • 75 points: Doing the Assignment 

    Releasing your assignment under a CC license is required. The benefit this assignment provides is that you can advocate for design projects that you'd otherwise never get to do. By requiring a CC release, standards of quality get upheld, and future students can benefit from doing the same assignment.  

    Knowledge and Skills

    How to make an Open Pedagogy Project

    The easiest way to get started on designing your own assignment is to start from a template. For instance, you 


    Here are some helpful links on TILT assignment design, CC licensing, OER Commons, etc.

    Example Projects


    Also, here’s my Open Pedagogy Projects Repository




    CC-By Oscar Baechler

    Example 3 Phase Project: Material Cube Studies

    Start by making a copy of this document with File | Make a Copy. Then replace this title with your assignment title

    The Purpose is a description of why a student would benefit from this assignment. Write about the skills that might be improved, how these skills can be applied in a production environment, and new concepts that might be mastered by completing the assignment. Replace the paragraph with a purpose for your own project.

    The Task is a description of deliverables a person does in the project. Replace this example task with an overview of the project's task.

    Phase 1 is usually the first week of a project, in which all the research and ideation is planned out so that the work can move forward. Your project might have unique preproduction needs. Consider adding the following preproduction artifacts: 

    1. The project pitch (a 1 sentence description)
    2. Cultural research 
    3. Mind map 
    4. Mood board
    5. Thumbnails
    6. Doodle page
    7. Rough Comps 
    8. Sketch notes 
    9. A more developed paragraph of 1 page document about the project idea
    10. Resource gathering, such as a morgue file of openly licensed photos to photoshop, 

    TAG is a generic critique format that usually works for any project.

    Add some critique ideas that are specific to your project's parameters.

    Phase 3 is usually the final finished project. It is preferable if this includes documentation of how the project developed from start to finish.

    Criteria for Success is a description of final deliverables expected from the project, with information on necessary details or things to avoid.

    This is my standard rubric. The only additional parameters you'll want to modify are the Project Specifics category.

    Find some examples of what you'd expect the final deliverables of the assignment to look like. They can be your own or from around the internet. Make sure to provide attribution. Links are best, as you might not have permission to include copyrighted content in an assignment. 

    Delete all except one of these license images, based on how permissive you intend this assignment to be.

    Three Phase Project Title (example: Material Cube studies)


    This document is licensed as CC-By Oscar Baechler and Anna Igdanovich. It is designed to be an example assignment implementation of open pedagogy assignment creation. For best results, create a copy of the Google Doc, which also has annotated notes on how to modify the document to your specifications. 


    Different objects react to light very differently to light and shadow depending on their material properties. By rendering simple orthographic cubes with 3 visible faces, an artist can ignore the distractions of perspective, construction, and composition, and instead focus on high quality attention to material details and adherence to reference. 


    In this project, artists will research and render specific materials and objects through a series of 16 material cubes, utilizing the 3 lit values of a cube (light top face, medium right face, dark left face) to plan light and shading.

    Phase 1: Preproduction

    For Phase 1: Preproduction, you will want to think about which 16 materials you want to study. Are you studying materials of a particular theme, such as food or architectural elements? You should also set up a digital painting document with your 16 cubes. After determining the 16 material cubes you’ll render, create a mood board with relevant photo reference to inform your renderings.  For Phase 1, you will want to complete the following deliverables in the first week:

    1. The pitch!

    2. A list of 16+ material ideas

    3. Research and Mood board

    4. 4 Exploratory rough comps that begin rendering up a few of the cubes.  

    Phase 2: Formative Critiques and Revisions

    We will go through the following critique stages, ideally in class. 

    1. Share your overall progress in small groups. Get feedback on your pitch, research, mindmap, and moodboard, and incorporate feedback into potential new influences.

    2. Salon-style viewing of thumbnails, with “red dot” feedback. Add a new layer to your document, and everyone put a red dot near their 3 favorite thumbnails on every classmate’s work.

    3. Small group feedback on your rough comps. 

    4. Take notes on classmate feedback, and incorporate it into revisions. 


    Use the following questions when gathering feedback about your work:

    1. TAG: Tell something you like, Ask some questions, and Give a Suggestion

    2. Having heard your cohort’s presentation and seen their preproduction, which of their material cubes is most interesting? 

    3. Are any material cubes too similar? Should any be replaced with a more unique option?

    4. How successfully are the material cubes utilizing the 3 different lighting values for the 3 different visible sides of the cube?

    5. Other comments:


    After these formative critiques, you will incorporate the feedback of your Phase 2 crits and demonstrate how this feedback changed the trajectory of your project. This process will include further refinement and finish to your selected idea that directly addresses the feedback from critiques. 


    Phase 3: Refinement and final presentation. 

    For Phase 3, you will focus on a high level of finish for your material cubes, with extra attention to detail and appreciation for your reference. You will assemble two final deliverables: first, a single image of the final materials, and second, a PDF that documents all 3 phases of how this project was developed. You may also want to include pages for each individual cube as a close up.  

    Criteria for Success


    Your final version should be a large format image (3840x2160 pixels, 11x17 inches, or similar). 


    Submit your final version along with an 11x17 PDF that chronicles the various stages of your project’s development, such as:  

    1. Elevator pitch and Mind Map

    2. Mood board

    3. Initial thumbnails

    4. Rough Comps

    5. Classmate feedback 

    6. Revised comps with demonstration of novel resource-driven techniques

    7. Color variations

    8. Final version


    100 points total. Upon completion of all phases, we will use the following rubric. 





    20 Points


    15 Points


    10 Points


    0 Points

    No marks


    The work is unique, surprising, and imaginative. Details are captivating and interesting. Exploration, experimenting, and risk taking clearly visible.

    The work resembles resource examples and peer work with some deviation. Some exploration of new directions adapted from resources

    The work is unoriginal or derivative of resource examples and peer work. Individual components overly similar

    No assignment was turned in.


    Techniques shown in lesson resources used excellently. Demonstrates industry best practices. Finished with patience and polish

    Techniques shown in lesson resources used with some success. Some revisions to improve earlier attempts

    Failed to use techniques shown in lesson resources correctly. Sloppy finishing. No revisions to correct problems.

    No assignment was turned in.


    10+ preproduction artifacts (thumbnails, reference images, color palettes, etc) were gathered. The artistic process was documented and presented professionally

    5 preproduction artifacts (thumbnails, reference images, color palettes, etc) were gathered, and the process was partially documented.

    1 preproduction artifact (thumbnails, reference images, color palettes, etc) was gathered. The artistic process was not documented. Lack of paper trail might imply plagiarism.

    No assignment was turned in.


    Turned in on time, followed directions, cleaned up. All nonessential criteria met, such as naming conventions and file formats. Participated well in feedback sessions, helped the team. Aligns with codes of conduct found in syllabus and institutional documents.No cheating.

    Most assignment components turned in on time. Some errors in nonessentials, like naming conventions or file formats. Aligns with codes of conduct found in syllabus and institutional documents. No cheating.

    Instructor had to check email or assignment submission after the end of the quarter to see if it was ever turned in. Student required significant coaching about codes of conduct found in syllabus and institutional documents. No cheating.

    No assignment was turned in.

    Project Specifics

    (Replace with specifics to your project.). All 16 cubes faithfully render the material properties of their reference. 

    (Replace with specifics to your project.). 

    (Replace with specifics to your project.). 

    No assignment was turned in.




    Material Study by Aydan Aydogan

    Material Study by Haekal Lav

    Material Study by Brian Valeza

    Material Study by David Durna

    Material Cubes by Noirmadiz

    Material Cubes study by Joshua Wilson


    Knowedge & Skills

    (Find at least 3 relevant autodidactic learning resources that relate to this project.)



    This assignment is licensed under the following license: 





    More information on this license can be found at Creative Commons.