Open education
Open education

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Free course

Open education

1 Openness in education

1.1 Week 1 Introduction

As the course is about openness in education, in this first week you will explore some of the different interpretations of openness and consider priorities for research in this area. The aim of this week is to familiarise you with some of the concepts and to get you thinking about some of the issues involved. We will then explore these in more detail in the coming weeks.

What to expect this week

This free OpenLearn course is looking at openness in education and all the different aspects of that term.

I often say that The Open University struck it lucky with its name. Forty years after its founding, openness is more of a relevant topic in education than it was then. If you were starting a new university now, then Open would be a good choice. But what is meant by open education has changed considerably, particularly since the advent of the internet and it is these new interpretations that we will be looking at.

They include:

  • Open educational resources
  • Open licences
  • Open courses or MOOCs
  • Pedagogy for open education
  • Literacies and technology for openness.

A word or two about studying an open course

To get the most from this course we recommend you enrol so that you can actively participate in the forums and activities.

While this course is unsupported, we hope that you may find support from your peers via the fourms, Twitter or blogs.

We’re experimenting with a blog aggregator; this may not work for all blogs, and it isn’t essential for your blog to appear here. But it will hopefully give a flavour of blog postings.

The course is structured around activities that are reasonably independent of one another. This means you don’t have to do all of them, although it will of course be better if you do. The allocated time for this level of study is about 16 hours a week, but informal learners in particular may find this level of commitment difficult, so may want to choose one or two activities a week.

I think the key to an open course is to enjoy it and make good network connections, so I hope you find it useful, and enjoyable.


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

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