Open Education

This resource will explain the concept of open education and will overview Open Educational Resources and Massive Open Online Courses.

What is open education?

Open education refers to education free of the barriers, monetary or otherwise, that are present in traditional education systems. The philosophy of open education is simple - everyone should be able to access high-quality education without being restricted by factors like cost, location or ability.

Open education harnesses the capabilities of the Internet to share resources, tools and practices freely across the globe. Although this means educational resources can be accessed by a great number of people, it also means that those without access to the Internet miss out.

How does it benefit you?

Open educational resources and tools can help you learn new skills and concepts for free and whenever you want. You could learn a new language or test out a new field of study, at home, for free.

Open Educational Resources (OERS)

Open Educational Resources are free and readily available educational materials that could be in form of a file, video, recording, image, software or even free online courses. OERs are made available in the public domain or under creative commons licenses which allows them to be widely accessed, used and remixed.

There are five principles that typify an OER:

  1. Retain: You may have full control over the copy that you have downloaded.
  2. Reuse: You have the right to reuse the content for your needs unaltered.
  3. Revise: You can modify or adapt it to suit your needs.
  4. Remix: You can combine it with other materials to suit your needs.
  5. Redistribute: Share copies or revisions to the original with others. (University of Technology Sydney 2016)

How can I search for OERs?

You can search for creative commons material from Google, YouTube, Wikimedia or specific sites meant for OERs like Creative Commons Website, Open Professionals Education Network, and OER Commons.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are online courses that are available for anyone to participate in for free. MOOCs are generally structured in a similar way to offline courses, in that they include short lectures, reading lists and interactive activities, which are dispersed over several weeks, however they do not result in formal qualifications.

To deliver MOOCs, universities partner with MOOC service providers. The university comes up with the content, and the provider hosts it on their site. The University of Wollongong, for instance, is currently partnered with the provider FutureLearn. You can find out more about the courses UOW offers here.

As a student, a MOOC can provide you with a free avenue to pursue your interests, or to dip your toes into a new career or hobby.

How do I find a MOOC?

Class Central is a MOOC aggregator that you can use to find MOOCs from several service providers. Altneratively, you can pick a provider you like and search their site.

Further resources