What is Open Education

Open Education is, at its core, about free and open sharing. Free, meaning no cost, and open, which refers to the use of legal tools (open licenses) that allow everyone to reuse and modify educational resources.  Free and open sharing increases access to education and knowledge for everyone, everywhere, all the time.  It allows people to make changes to materials or to combine resources to build something new.  Open Education incorporates free and open learning communities, educational networks, teaching and learning materials, open textbooks, open data, open scholarship, open source educational tools and more. Open Education gives people access to knowledge, provides platforms for sharing, enables innovation, and connects communities of learners and educators around the world.

The idea of free and open sharing in education is not new.  In fact, sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built.  Open Education seeks to scale up educational opportunities by taking advantage of the power of the internet, allowing rapid and essentially free dissemination, and enabling people around the world to access knowledge, connect and collaborate. Open is key; open allows not just access, but the freedom to modify and use materials, information and networks so education can be personalized to individual users or woven together in new ways for diverse audiences, large and small.

Why is Open Education important?

People want to learn. By providing free and open access to education and knowledge, we help create a world where people can fulfill this desire. Students can get additional information, viewpoints and materials to help them succeed. Workers can learn things that will help them on the job. Faculty can draw on resources from all around the world. Researchers can share data and develop new networks. Teachers can find new ways to help students learn. People can connect with others they wouldn’t otherwise meet to share ideas and information. Materials can be translated, mixed together, broken apart and openly shared again, increasing access and inviting fresh approaches. Anyone can access educational materials, scholarly articles, and supportive learning communities anytime they want to. Education is available, accessible, modifiable and free.

What is Open Education Week?

Open Education Week’s goal is to raise awareness about free and open educational opportunities that exist for everyone, everywhere, right now.  We want to highlight how open education can help people meet their goals in education, whether that’s to develop skills and knowledge for work, supporting formal studies, learning something new for personal interest, or looking for additional teaching resources.

Who is contributing to Open Education Week?

Open Education Week is coordinated by the OpenCourseWare Consortium, an association of hundreds of institutions and organizations around the world that are committed to the ideals of open education.  Universities, colleges, schools and organizations from all over the world have come together to showcase what they’re doing to make education more open, free, and available to everyone.

Learn more

Check out the videos to learn more about open education and why it’s important to communities around the world. Then find what interests you, and explore. Join a webinar, see what projects are going on around the world, or attend a live event. You can tweet a question or comment (#openeducationwk), or contact us at info@openeducationweek.org