According to Weller, there are two main reasons that openness in education matters; opportunities, including shifting from “a pedagogy of scarcity to one of abundance” (Weller M, 2014, p. 10) and function, i.e. by having an open approach to such things as the dissemination of research and sharing of teaching resources, universities can have a broader role in society.
There are so many aspects of sharing knowledge and information – for teaching (e.g. MOOCs and OERs), for research (open access publications and open scholarship), and open policy (licensing, e.g. Creative Commons). The benefits of sharing are plenty, for example increasing the audience, i.e. removing barriers for people accessing resources, and enabling increased access with the intention to reach particular groups that you might not usually reach (e.g. that entry qualifications are not required).
Openness is also about preventing that people “reinvent the wheel” – why not share educational resources to save time, and instead be able to spend more time helping students and doing other meaningful activities? In Alastair Creelman’s introduction to Topic 5, there is a quote by David Wiley “If there is no sharing, there is no learning” – that is a huge benefit of openness, being able to learn from each other and build on each other’s findings.
MOOCs is one aspects of open education that has been discussed extensively. In Alastair’s lecture on MOOCs he notes that they are not really leading to opening up education for everyone, but they are rather reaching people who are already high-level graduates who are used to, and good at, studying. A lot of people do MOOCs because they want to learn more about a certain subject and just testing the concept of doing a MOOC. However, MOOCs have gotten a lot of attention and have put online learning on the map. Perhaps in the long run this will make a big difference in opening up higher education to everyone.
Open education can also be seen in a bigger picture; it is a part of a broader movement for openness where access to data and information within the fields of politics. Making governmental and corporation data accessible is fundamental for accountability, and this is so important for an open and transparent society.
Weller, M. (2014). Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press.
ONL Topic 5 introduction, Alastair Creelman. Avaliable at: http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cDfh1v1y6H
MOOCs – from hype to opportunity. Alastair Creelman (2014). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXfo29bz868