What is Open Education?

What is Open Education?

Open Education is the adoption of practices which support the (re)use and production of open education resources (OER) through institutional policies, promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co‐producers on their lifelong learning path. (The Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL) Report, Beyond OER: Shifting Focus to Open Educational Practice, 2011, p. 12).

Open education is the umbrella term that covers everything we’re doing with openness as a lever to try to expand access to educational opportunity to the entire world. OER are part of it; open teaching is part of it, open access is to research part of it, open assessment is part of it, open badges and other open credentials are part of it, open policies are part of it, etc. (Wiley, 20121)

Open Education Resources (OER)

In preparation for the 2012 Paris OER Declaration UNESCO defined OER as ‘any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation’.

 Why is Open Education important?

As a national sector, we have, with some exceptions, not shown leadership in open education. Open Access strategies for research outputs now seem more embedded and widely adopted but the understanding of the potential in relation to education and learning remains low.

The benefits of Open Education for Australia include:

  • Economies of scale through collaborative co-production of learning resources.
  • Opportunity to raise quality of learning at decreased time and financial cost.
  • Provision of learning materials that are richer, and more appropriate to the contexts and styles of learning of an increasingly diverse student community.
  • Opportunity to provide learning to disadvantaged communities globally;to the remote and regional areas of Australia.
  • Promote greater collaboration between Universities in fostering peer review and collegial development of learning materials.
  • Greater levels of transparency into the teaching process.

Open Education can play an important role in positioning Australian higher education on the global stage through showcasing the expertise contained within our Universities.