The history of Open Education
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 A range of ‘open’ philosophies and models have emerged during the 20th Century as a result of several different drivers and motivations – including sharing freely, preventing duplication, avoiding restrictive copyright practices, promoting economic efficiencies and improving access to broad groups of stakeholders.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Many of these developments have been driven by and created by communities that recognise the benefits to themselves, and sometimes to wider groups. Some of these are listed below:
- ¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0
- Open source software
- Open standards
- Open access to research results
- Open design
- Open data
- Open courseware
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Several of these movements have somehow influenced the education community both in terms of research on learning and teaching (particularly in the area of educational technology). Whilst it is widely expected that sharing and openness would bring benefits to some stakeholders in the all the above areas, traditional cultures and practices, managerial approaches and processes, and perceived legal complexities have been identified as barriers to sharing both within and across institutions.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 The Open Education movement started around the concept of Open Educational Resources (OER), a term originally coined at a forum arranged in 2002 by UNESCO (see more on OER in Module 3). In response to the growing interest in the subject, the OpenCourseWare Consortium (recently renamed as Open Education Consortium) was launched in 2005.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Before that, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had launched the OpenCourseWare initiative (OCW) in 2001, the same year when Wikipedia was established. While MIT-OCW was preceded by similar initiatives such as Rice University’s Connexions (1999) and David Willey’s Open Content Project (1998), it gained unprecedented attention from the media and other universities interested in replicating the model.
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Numerous individuals, educational institutions and other organisations around the globe have since then contributed to the so-called Open Education movement. Other relevant initiatives were launched soon after that, such as the UK Open University’s OpenLearn in 2006; and The Cape Town Open Education Declaration, resulting from a meeting of advocates in late 2007, helped to articulate the principles underpinning this emerging movement.
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 In 2008 Dave Cormier coined the term Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in response to an experience developed that same year by George Siemens and Stephen Downes, who ran a course on connectivism with a group of students at Manitoba University (Canada) and an extended cohort of more than 2.000 participants from the general public who were invited to follow and participate in the course for free.
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Over the next few years, similar MOOCs experiences were developed at other institutions. In 2011 Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig ran another course on Artificial Intelligence at Stanford that involved more than 100.000 students. Inspired by this, a number of platforms developed by companies in partnership with or belonging to universities emerged over the following months (e.g. Udacity, Coursera, edX).
What is the status of Open Education today?
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 The Open Education movement is in good health: the Open Education Consortium is a global network working in the area, which organises every year in March the Open Education Week. UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning are still pushing for openness adoption at different levels (in 2017 the second OER World Congress is taking Place). In 2013 the European Commission has issued a Communication called Opening Up Education, that has given birth to a few national initiatives such as Opening Up Slovenia.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Furthermore open education, OER and MOOCs have been a central theme or almost every e-learning conference in the last years, and a number of reports are continuously being produced looking at different OER and OEP developments, as witnessed by the richness of the www.oerworldmap.org site.
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Finally, Open Education is increasingly being considered as an option by universities in other regions than the forerunner English-speaking area, where it all started. An overview on current projects and initiatives is provided by the OER World Map here below:[https://oerworldmap.org/ image]