Chapter 10: Trends in open education

The purpose of this chapter

When you have completed this chapter you should be able to determine:

  • how your role as an instructor is likely to be changed by developments in open learning;
  • when you should create your own material and when you should use open educational resources;
  • how to maximise the use of digital materials once created.

 What is covered in this chapter

Also in this chapter you will find the following activities:

  • Activity 10.1 Should access to post-secondary education be completely open to anyone?
  • Activity 10.2 Deciding on OER
  • Activity 10.3 Using other open resources
  • Activity 10.4 Build your own scenario

Key Takeaways

1. Open educational resources offer many benefits but they need to be well designed and embedded within a rich learning environment to be effective.

2. The increasing availability of OER, open textbooks, open research and open data means that in future, almost all academic content will be open and freely accessible over the Internet.

3. As a result, students will increasingly look to institutions for learning support and help with the development of skills needed in a digital age rather than with the delivery of content. This will have major consequences for the role of teachers/instructors and the design of courses.

4. OER and other forms of open education will lead to increased modularization and disaggregation of learning services, which are needed to respond to the increasing diversity of learner needs in a digital age.

5. MOOCs are essentially a dead end with regard to providing learners who do not have adequate access to education with high quality qualifications. The main value of MOOCs is in providing opportunities for non-formal education and supporting communities of practice.

6. OER, MOOCs, open textbooks and other digital forms of open-ness are important in helping to widen access to learning opportunities, but ultimately these are enhancements rather than a replacement for a well-funded public education system, which remains the core foundation for enabling equal access to educational opportunities.