Weeks 2, 3, 4: Background Readings in Open Education

What do these overviews of the field have in common? What do they emphasize differently? What are the aims of the authors of each report? Do you see a bias toward or against any ideas, organizations, or approaches in any of the reports? Which report spoke the most clearly to you, and why do you think it did? Based on where the field is now, and these initial ideas about where it might go, what part of the open education movement is most interesting to you? Why?

These texts have in common the same conception of openness as a breath of life for education. This idea comes from the United Nations Human Rights Declaration (“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free”) and is probably the main argument for institutions to engage in OER projects. In this way, the Hewlett Foundation Open Educational Resources Initiative seeks to use information technology to help equalize access to knowledge and educational opportunities across the world.

Giving Knowledge for Free examines the benefits and barriers with respect to the production and use of open educational resources. There is a very controversial incentive for free and open sharing when we talk about individual researchers and teachers: the altruistic conception of sharing as a good thing. I think that the most important challenge for OER initiatives is to make deal people in the globalisation age, when individualism reign, that sharing offers personal satisfaction to know that one´s materials are available all over the world. The pleasure to develop things together is, in my opinion, the greatest advantage of Open Education, and the main strength for the OER movement.

OLCOS emphasises that it is crucial to promote innovation and change in educational practices, and Giving Knowledge for Free, the clearest report from my point of view, also contains this idea, bearing in mind the legal barrier of copyright. The question of intellectual property and Open Licences is for me the most interesting thing for the future of OER phenomenon and the development of digital content in higher education, bearing in mind that free sharing of software and education resources reinforces societal development and diminishes social inequality.

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