5. Open education

The C of the day: Creating

Today we will focus on learning through making, that means synthesising ideas, approaches and methods that might surprise us and others. You can do this on your own or with others through the  community spaces, such as Google plus and Twitter. What are you going to create?


The move towards ‘openness’ in education has accelerated in recent years with a number of high profile institutional initiatives such as the MIT OpenCourseware project and  there is now a growing body of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) offered by a number of institutions around the globe which not only give access to free educational courseware, such as images, video, audio and other assets to educators and learners worldwide, without an accompanying need to pay royalties or licence fees but also provide opportunities for open access participation and learning in course settings via for example Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) which often attract large numbers of participants. The OER and OEP have emerged as a concept with great potential to support educational transformation as well as provide extended opportunities for learning in non-formal settings. In this topic we explore the benefits and challenges of openness in education and learning more generally and looks at ways in which educators and learners can harness and benefit from a plethora of open opportunities to engage and re-engage in learning but also to explore how OER and OEP can be re-purposed, adapted and contextualised for specific learning and teaching situations.

Scenario (as an animation, text and audio)

“I spend a lot of time preparing resources for my sessions and my students and they find them really useful. Many times I thought to share them with colleagues but nobody came to me and gave me anything for free. So, why should I? I had to work hard, and am still working hard to create these resources. Increasingly I hear that we should share more and while I share openly with my students, I feel extremely uncomfortable letting others use my materials. Should they not create their own?” I don’t really understand what the benefits of Open Educational Resources are? It looks to me as if OERs are becoming an easy solution, or quick fix for teachers. Really not sure what this is all about… and then this fascinating with doing everything in the open? What is this all about?”

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this topic, you will have had the opportunity to

  1. discuss open educational practices and open educational resources
  2. reflect on open educational resources and open practices in your own practice
  3. review features of a chosen open educational resource or activity

Pick ‘n’ mix activities

Definitely do one of the following activities! If you are learning within a group consider carrying out one of the below as a collaborative task. Remember to share on Twitter and in the other community spaces.

1. Responding: Create a response to the scenario on your own or with others based on the discoveries you made through investigating this. Remember, you could use FISh. (ilo-1)

2. Reflecting: Think about open educational practices and reflect on your current situation. Where are the challenges and opportunities? What could you do to help your students? (ilo-2)

3. Making: Create a digital artefact that captures your findings from the review of an open educational resource or activity. Do this on own or with others. (ilo-3)

Suggested readings

1. Using Online Technologies to Extend a Classroom to Learners at a Distance, by John L. Hilton III, Charles Graham, Peter Rich and David Wiley, available here

2. Collaborative Environments to Foster Creativity, Reuse and Sharing of OER by Paolo Tosato and Gianluigi Bodi, available here

3. The battle for open by Martin Weller, available here

4. A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on Massive Open Online Courses, by Rita Kop et al., available here

5. Open Education Handbook a live document developed by the open community and led by the Open Knowledge Foundation, available here

6. Using an ‘open approach’ to create a new, innovative higher education model by Susan Huggins and Peter Smith, available here


This will appear below as a comment and also shared via Twitter and the Google plus community.

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