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Dr. Robin DeRosa

Director of the Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative, Plymouth State University
Robin DeRosa

Our instructional designers are people who can help give voice to what our opportunities are and what the risks are and how we can redesign to serve our communities.

Dr. Robin DeRosa

Key Interview Takeaways

Universities need to start listening to students, staff, and faculty to make changes that work for them. Instead of creating systems that cater to the contours of an institution, institutions should flexibly adapt to the contours of the lives of the real people who learn within them.

We need to stop engaging in the reductive debate about which is “better,” online or face-to-face learning. Instead, we need to talk about the important things in learning such as curiosity, connection, and communication.

What are the opportunities that we (higher ed) have in this learning moment and who is at risk and why are they at risk and how can we address these risks? It is important for designers to design learning spaces intentionally and bring into consideration adaptability, connection, and equity as they create these systems.​


Robin DeRosa is the Director of the Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative –  a dynamic, praxis-powered hub dedicated to innovative teaching and learning and a community-driven approach to academic professional development – at Plymouth State University, part of the University System of New Hampshire. There, she focuses on instructional design, open education, interdisciplinary learning, and increasing the public impact of the academy. Robin is a national leader in open pedagogy, and an advocate for public infrastructures and institutions for higher education. As an undergraduate, she majored in Women’s Studies and English, and participated in campus activism around LGBTQ+ issues, race and financial aid, and sexual assault policies. After college, she taught high school English and Theater before returning to school to complete a PhD in English with a focus on early American history and literature.

Her interest was in how history is produced through narrative and popular culture. Her research includes work on the Salem Witch Trials in American memory, postmodern redefinitions of the tourist, and simulated environments in contemporary media. In 2015, Robin DeRosa produced a tour book focused on women’s history for Bodie State Historic Park in California. She was an English professor for fifteen years before she moved into the field of Interdisciplinary Studies and helped to develop a radically student-centered pedagogy for Plymouth State’s customized major program. As the director of the Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative at Plymouth State University, Robin DeRosa often pulls from her experience in humanities to think critically about the future of higher education, and important collaborations that will help make academic scholarship more relevant and accessible to the public. Robin DeRosa has written numerous articles and given interviews on Digital Pedagogy and Open Education Resources. Her most recent article, “Values Centered Instructional Planning can be found on Inside HigherEd here.