Open Education

Open Education

What is Open Education?edissharing

It’s sharing. You probably start by taking the ideas and resources that someone else has been nice enough to share and then adapting them to your needs. Then, when you’re ready, you give back. It’s sharing your ideas and sharing resources you’ve created.

As a teacher you may use these resources in your classroom or course page (such as MyOpenMath or . As a learner you may participate in things like an open online course (MOOC).


Open Textbook Resource with Feedback for Students. Open Textbook Resource for faculty to use with permission.

What are Open Educational Practices (OEPs)?

It can be many things, but a few examples are:

  1. You may already be doing this: sharing your teaching lessons, activities and assessments with colleagues to edit or repurpose, for feedback, or just to discuss as part of your program or school meetings.
  2. Sharing your teaching practices through a reflective blog or website so that others who teach a similar subject can see how you do it. They can then help themselves to the ideas that work for them in their situation.
  3. Your students can get in on this by openly sharing their work with each other. It leads to connected, open learning in which students build off of each other’s ideas.

OEP can extend, revise and remix our teaching and learning.

What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?

The things that open educational practitioners create and licence to share are OERs. Lesson plans, instructional videos, tests, course materials and open textbooks among other things are included. One place to find them (and put them) are on OER Commons.

The Learning Portal – OER Toolkit: provides information and tools to help faculty and library staff across all publicly funded colleges in Ontario to understand, engage with, and sustain OER in their work and practice.

Who is doing it?

Everybody is somewhat open. It’s not binary; open or closed. No one is completely secretive about what they do in the classroom. All faculty search at some point for learning activities and other resources for their classes.

Who benefits from this?

Two of the main characters of the education story benefit the most: The learner and the teacher. The learner benefits from lower costs, more access to their peers’ knowledge (see choral explanations) and more highly skilled instructors. The teacher benefits are much the same: more access to their peers’ knowledge and ideas and free resources to enrich their teaching. The institution benefits too, in that lower costs increases affordability and opportunities for students to be able to attend (and keep attending).

What things can be open?

Textbooks, articles, data, lesson plans, curriculum, citations, journals, reflective practice, courses, technology, research, policy, licensing. 50 Shades of Open

How can I contribute?

Well first, why don’t you take some stuff? Check out the Open Library (eCampusOntario), OER Commons, Creative Commons, Open Stax, or BC Campus Open Textbooks. Later you may feel emboldened, empowered and enabled to contribute some stuff yourself!

Want to go down the Open Education rabbit hole? Here’s more.

Below is the 2nd place prize from the “Why Open Education Matters” video competition, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education (more videos on this page)

Blogs about Open Education

What is Open Pedagogy by David Wiley

My Open Textbook: Pedagogy and Practice By Robin De Rosa

Examples of OEP

Twitter Chats for specific educational sectors or audiences: 

Archive of Awesomeness from Open Education Conference 2016: A collection of blogs, notes, videos and photos from the conference. One of the best benefits of OEP is the open sharing of thoughts, ideas and plans that come out of other people’s Open Educational Practices.

Open Books on Open Education

The Battle for Open, by Martin Weller

My main hypothesis is that open education isn’t an interesting subset of education now, it is education.

-Martin Weller

Downes-Wiley: A Conversation on Open Educational Resources , Stephen Downes and David Wiley. Stephen Downes is Senior Researcher for the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Information Technology. David Wiley is the Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University.

What the two of us really need to do of course is to sit down for a day or three and have a conversation about these issues and then have it transcribed and post it as an open book. I’d make the time.” Now it’s really easy to throw something like that out when it’s late and you’re trying to get a newsletter out for the day. Surprisingly David writes back and says ‘I’ll do it.’

-Stephen Downes

Other indications or signals that may indicate the importance of Open Education, OERs and Open Educational Practices:

1. Horizon Report 2015, article on the Proliferation of OERs in Higher Education over the next 3 to 5 years

2. School of Open P2PU: open university created by a community

3. Open Knowledge is a thing.

4. Open Educational Resources University – only pay when you decide to to try for the assessment

Final Thoughts

Open education is more like the real working world for which we are preparing the students than traditional educational practices. Student work, or the products of their work, will be in the open in that world, and it had better stack up. So why not model that practice? Students will learn that sharing understanding, ideas, processes and products will lead to even better understanding, ideas, processes and products.