Introducing Open Education, an initiative that brings together scholars, practitioners, and researchers from across the globe to learn more about how open content is changing the way we think about learning.

 

The idea behind open education is that knowledge doesn’t belong to any single institution or country. This concept has been around for a while–it’s referred to as “cosmopolitanism,” referring to how travel and communication networks brought ideas from different cultures closer together and challenged existing institutions’ power by bringing new perspectives into play. Today, with the mass digitization of information (and, therefore, knowledge), it’s becoming easier for people worldwide to translate essential findings in various fields into their language and use them in their classrooms.

Why is this important?

 

Making knowledge accessible and available to everyone can create a renaissance of learning over the next several decades. As top-notch scholars begin to cross international boundaries, we see a new map of the world forming in our field. For example, universities worldwide have been hiring faculty from outside of their country for centuries, but today we’re seeing higher education institutions engaging in partnerships course selling that truly transcend international boundaries and bring awareness of diverse perspectives into classrooms on a much more massive scale.

 

The rise of open education is giving birth to an interconnected network that is changing how we study, what we study, and how new knowledge can be translated into novel tools for learning.

How does open education work?

 

Open education practices are based on open content, educational material that can be freely used and modified. This means you don’t have to pay for it, and you can change it to fit your needs. Open content facilitates the same level of access as open data, but instead of applying these principles to information collected and categorized by the government (like census data), available content applies the same principles to publicly-available knowledge, including academic research.

 

One central concept that’s been proposed as a way to help researchers make their work freely available is the “Creative Commons” approach. Creative Commons’ tag system allows anyone to use any of the materials it provides in any way they see fit–including creating commercial products that derive from or reference the work without making any money.

What does this mean for students?

 

By decoupling access and use, open education practices have made it possible for people worldwide to access a wealth of knowledge in their native language and use it in their classrooms. If your school is connected to the Internet, you can see and use many of the same tools available at a world-class university like Harvard.

 

In many schools worldwide, students have access to full lecture notes and other course materials as they’re being used in lectures in real-time. Some schools even offer students the ability to get individualized feedback on their work by posting assignments and receiving guidance directly from mentors or fellow students. Students can turn in classwork electronically in some classes and receive instant feedback before ever attending a meeting with their professor.

Are Any Specify Courses For  Open Education?

 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is currently developing the Methodology for Authoring Open Educational Resources (MEOER), a standard for describing university course content best platform to sell courses online in general and specifically for open education. Several universities and organizations are working to create ways for people, especially those in developing countries, to access all the materials required for an entire college degree.

Open Education Resources (OER) are becoming increasingly available worldwide. 

 

There’s even a directory site called OER Commons, “an open-access repository for sharing learning resources such as videos, books, software and courseware from institutions of higher education.” You can browse and search through all of these materials on OER Commons, or you can look at one specific site called MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), which offers free online versions of selected MIT courses.

How do students get credit for using materials from OER in their classes?

 

Even though these materials are available for free, there are several ways that students can receive credit and recognition for using them in their school work. Some universities have started to develop open degrees programs, which means that students can submit work they’ve completed based on the content they’ve found online and still receive credit for learning. In some cases, a student might be able to submit completed work under the supervision of an assigned instructor who can issue feedback and provide suggestions to the student on how they might be able to improve their final product.

 

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