The rapid growth of the Internet has created unprecedented opportunities for access to information and the sharing of knowledge and ideas. Yet most educational systems have not yet taken full advantage of the positive impacts this can provide.
Open Education seeks to harness the opportunities of the digital information age to provide learners and educators with easier, cheaper and faster access to open learning resources and materials, such as books, articles, research data, videos, simulations and courses. Open Education provides a cost-effective means for educators to provide up-to-date learning resources for students, personalize education by matching materials to students’ understanding and interests, increase collaboration, provide support for self study and competency-based learning.
Open Education is built on three basic ideas: education is critical for personal and societal growth; the essence of education is to share and build on knowledge; and digitization provides a means to improve education by enabling rapid dissemination and essentially cost-free sharing at a global scale. Educators embracing an open model are committed to developing a vast pool of openly shared educational resources that are accessible and adaptable to everyone.
This is possible by using open licenses for educational materials that allow for legal reuse, modification and sharing and making them available to everyone in digital formats. There are already tens of thousands of open educational resources, authored and used by faculty from leading institutions around the world, available to everyone, whether to support learning in an online or in-person course, or enhancing understanding for work or personal development.
By embracing this approach, we are building a strong, open future for education.
Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director, Open Education Consortium, [email protected]