Welcome to the free OpenLearn course on open education. This course runs over seven weeks and is focused around the subject of openness in education. The standalone free course is an adapted extract from the Open University Masters-level course.
The course operates an activity-based pedagogy, so within each week there will be activities to undertake. Many of these involve writing a blog post detailing your thoughts on a particular issue, and then Tweeting about your post to enable other learners to read different opinions. If you are not comfortable with making public your thoughts in this way, you can simply substitute the blog posts for entries into an unshared document, and omit the Twitter activity. However, we recommend that you do create a Twitter account and do the activities associated with it if at all possible, as this does add a great deal of value to your networking practice. We will look at pedagogy associated with open learning itself in Week 5 of this course.
The course is set out week by week as many learners prefer to structure their study this way. However, it is not essential that you study it in this manner. If your other commitments mean you have to work ahead sometimes or need to catch up, this is fine – there is a lot of flexibility built into the structure of the course. The course is aimed at a postgraduate, Masters level, with the expectation of approximately 16 hours of study each week.
Martin Weller, on whose materials much of this course is based, says 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. While this course is unsupported, we hope that you may find support from your peers via Twitter and blogs.
The course is structured around activities that will not only help you understand the subject area better, but will also help you to become a networked practitioner.