What is Open Content?


The movement toward open content reflects a growing shift in the way academics in many parts of the world are conceptualizing education to a view that is more about the process of learning than the information conveyed in their courses. Information is everywhere; the challenge is to make effective use of it. Part of the appeal of open content is that it is also a response to both the rising costs of traditionally published resources and the lack of educational resources in some regions, and a cost-effective alternative to textbooks and other materials. As customizable educational content is made increasingly available for free over the Internet, students are learning not only the material, but also skills related to finding, evaluating, interpreting, and repurposing the resources they are studying in partnership with their teachers.


ALT-C Next Steps:

Please capture the discussion of your groups around this question in the space below:

How can we maximise the ability of Higher and Further Education institutions and their learning technology innovators to take advantage of this emerging technology and its applications?

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Work of the Advisory Board previous to Sept 5


INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

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

  • Open content might be the only was that some universities (particularly in developing countries) can afford to create courses to fulfill a curriculum. It is also a means by which a course can remain current, and that unis can offer a broad curriculum. - martin.weller martin.weller May 16, 2011
  • Using OER to share and critique practice, content and resources - neil.witt neil.witt May 16, 2011

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

  • Open content has been written and discussed so extensively that it's difficult to know where to start. Issues around sustainability and rights are always raised. I think the cultural issues are interesting, for example in a project I worked on it became apparent that using other people's content was seen as undermining the hard won status of the individual academic, so how it relates to identity and also promotion, tenure, reward and recognition. - martin.weller martin.weller May 16, 2011 Why just developing countries? If we see the distinction between teaching-led and research-led universities becoming even more clear over the next few years, then Open Content should become a key part of that move. Allows focus on the facilitation of learning and a move towards mediation and tutoring from the tutors. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011
  • Reward and recognition for teaching staff - neil.witt neil.witt May 16, 2011


(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research or information management within the next five years?

  • Creative expression - There are different types of open content (big and little OER is categorisation I use) - the former is about institutional content which comes with high reputation but is often used as is, whereas the second is individual and has a lower quality but higher creativity. - martin.weller martin.weller May 16, 2011
  • Little OERS/learner generated content - such as videos published to YouTube - allows learners to engage in authentic knowledge sharing and participatory pedagogies (Brown and Adler, 2008). Rather than restrict themselves to classroom 'communities', students can engage in e.g. the YouTube community where presence/identity can transcend temporary roles as students and they own their own work. - helen.keegan helen.keegan May 16, 2011

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Too many to mention! OpenLearn, OLNet, OpenEd from our perspective, plus the MOOCs of Siemens, Downes and Wiley are interesting.
Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form. ere.