Learning in an Open World

Openness in education is an area that The Open University is uniquely positioned to research. What open education means has changed since the OU was founded in 1969, and now encompasses Open Educational Resources (OER), MOOCs, open access publishing and what is more generally labelled open educational practice. Operating in the open, that is sharing content, using open licenses that allow remixing, and developing methods that involve open collaboration can impact the way higher education teaches, researches and performs public engagement.

Open practices have moved into mainstream education over the past decade, and this research theme explores the impact on learners and educators alike. For instance, how the research cycle has changed when you use openly available data, sharing your findings throughout via social media and use methods that involve crowd input? How can teaching be changed if students are given an open textbook which they can alter and add to? What does it mean for an academic to develop an online identity compared with the traditional measures? How do universities adapt to providing content for free and recognising the learning that takes place informally? These, and many more, are the types of questions we are interested in this strand. It has impact within universities, but also more broadly, for example with public engagement and awareness on key issues, health education, design and innovation and economics.

The Learning in an Open World team