What is Open Content?

The movement toward open content reflects a growing shift in the way scholars in many parts of the world are conceptualizing education to a view that is more about the process of learning than the information conveyed. Information is everywhere; the challenge is to make effective use of it. Open content uses open licensing schemes, like those of Creative Commons, to encourage not only the sharing of information, but the sharing of pedagogies and experiences as well. Part of the appeal of open content is that it is a response to both the rising costs of traditionally published resources and the lack of educational resources in some regions. As this open, customizable content — and insights about how to teach and learn with it — is increasingly made available for free over the Internet, people are learning not only the material, but also the skills related to finding, evaluating, interpreting, and repurposing the resources.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Although open content is widely used in both K12 and higher ed it has not taken off as expected. It is still mostly coming from bottom-up, i.e. individual teachers sharing and using open content rather than institutionalised policies. Having said this, open content remains an improtant part of the content used today and will be for the coming years as well. - jan.hylen jan.hylen Dec 5, 2014
  • There are some equity issues to consider here if educational policy ignores open content. Out of school (or informal) online learning is often centered around open content, which means that these learners are gaining the above mentioned insights, whereas those relying on in school activities for their online learning are limited to learning in and about closed content. - sara.mortsell sara.mortsell Dec 6, 2014 - ylva.pettersson ylva.pettersson Dec 7, 2014 - stefan stefan Dec 7, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I would like to see the broader topic of open data represented. Its not only about opening up content for teachers and students, but to also open up the metadata surrounding the learning situation. With open data and standardisation of metadata, a whole new world of opportunities arise to evaluate, analyse and develop strategies for learning. Knowing how, when where, who and what around the learning situation, in standardised, open, data, would, together with the open content, provide a great tool for learning analytics. ~~~~
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • As I see open content, the main benefit is not in cost but in voice. Relying one-sidedly on predetermined, i.e. closed, content means leaving crucial pedagogical decisions up to someone else, and separates this decision-making process from both learner and context, which is where the instructing teacher has their expertise. In open content, these decisions have similarly been made by someone else but the big difference is that open content allows for adjustments, adding context, meaning and voice. There is a tradition in teaching of remixing analog learning resources to better fit with practice - remixing digitally often equals an improvement of resources. Of course to do this, teachers (or students if they're doing the remixing) need adequate digital skills, including how to share open content themselves. - sara.mortsell sara.mortsell Dec 6, 2014
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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