Open education: what is it, why is it, for whom is it and how to begin
Activity: What is the topic more difficult to understand for my students at the introductory level of my teaching? Look for a resource that can help them understand the topic in an easy way and with no additional cost. Answers:
- [my answer] In e-Government, ironically it is difficult to define the context and all the different approaches to the topic. So I invite them to follow some given hashtags (one of them the one belonging to the subject I am teaching) so that they get on with the community of practice that works in this field.
- A video about the physics of power by Foucault.
- Use of mindmapping tools to create conceptual networks.
- See films and then comment them on a hangout.
- Grammar assignments for free available on a website.
Most of the materials that we find online are copyrighted and cannot actually be used for education. The idea behind open education is to eliminate the frictions between copyright holders and users of educational materials. How to use materials without permission? With a license.
But open content is only a small fraction of what constitutes open education. Open education is about resources, tools and practices within a participatory open framework to improve access to education. Without sharing there is no education.
Why should open content be free (as in free beer)? Is it enough for open content to be free?
- Free, but quality content.
- Context matters.
- Knowledge is a social construction, comes from dialogue, thus cannot be captured or enclosed.
- It’s not about being free, but accessible. Again, social context matters: content is neither teaching nor learning.
- Comprehensiveness or completion: content has to be enough to achieve a certain learning goal, not require extensions, enhancements or upgrades.
Whom is open education for?
- For everyone.
- As a support for any kind of learning.
- [my own answer] For the educators, to enable communities of practice by sharing open education resources and practices.
- To enable communities of learning, besides (or complementing) what happens in the educational system.
How do we proceed? Step 1, the simplest one, is to tell the world what anyone can do with your stuff: choose a license.
- OER: 0, BY, BY-SA, BY-NC, BY-NC-SA.
- Not OER: BY-ND, BY-NC-ND.
The 5Rs of Openness, by David Wiley:
- Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content.
- Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video).
- Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language).
- Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
- Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
In an open education project, we should think about who benefits the project. Especificaly:
- The students.
- The community.
- The society at large.
- The promoting institution.
Strategies for open education:
- Institutional change.
- Help people access formal education.
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2015) “APROPIATIC (IV). Larry Cooperman: Open education: what is it, why is it, for whom is it and how to begin” In ICTlogy,
#146, November 2015. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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