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The Philosophy of Open Learning

Peer Learning and the Intellectual Commons

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Edited By Markus Deimann and Michael A. Peters

In this book, internationally recognized scholars provide in-depth insight into the emerging field of open education. The Philosophy of Open Learning provides an overview of the current debates and introduces the reader to the overall discourse on open education. The broad range of topics, including MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and OERs (Open Educational Resources) is aimed at demonstrating that open education has emerged as a new principle for organizing higher education. Based on this idea, the book covers various issues that are backed up by thorough philosophical reflections that provide orientation for the heated debates. Open education is discussed in its various imbrications to other open movements, such as open access, and its relevance for education over the last fifteen years.
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Chapter Two: Openness and the Intellectual Commons

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CHAPTER TWO

Openness AND THE Intellectual Commons

MICHAEL A. PETERS

 

‘Openness’ is one of the central contested values of modern liberal society and falls under different political descriptions. In this chapter I employ ‘openness’ to signal and introduce a new spatialization, interconnectivity, mobility, personalization and globalization of learning and education.

The dimensions of openness and ‘open education’ (Peters & Britez, 2008) found a beginning in education with the concept of The Open University as it developed in the United Kingdom (UK) during the 1960s. The concept of openness considered in the light of the new ‘technologies of openness’ of Web 2.0 promises to promote interactivity and encourage participation and collaboration and help to establish new forms of the intellectual commons now increasingly based on models of open source, open access, open archives and open education. Where the former is based on the logic of centralized industrial mass media characterized by a broadcast one-to-many mode, the latter is based upon a radically decentralized, ‘many-to-many’ mode of interactivity. To exemplify the progress and possibilities of this second possibility we might examine Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) OpenCourseWare and Harvard’s open access initiative to publicly post its faculty’s papers online. The real and immediate possibilities of a form of openness that combines the benefits of these first two forms provides a means to investigate the political economy of openness as it reconfigures higher education in the knowledge economy of...

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