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The Philosophy of Open Learning

Peer Learning and the Intellectual Commons


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 Nine: Open Learning and Social Innovation: Freedom and Democratic Culture


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Open Learning AND Social Innovation: Freedom AND Democratic Culture



With the advent of the Internet, principles of openness have become the basis of innovative institutional forms that decentralize and democratize power relationships, promote access to knowledge and encourage symmetrical, horizontal peer learning relationships. New “peer philosophies” are at the heart of a notion of “openness” that rest on the historical significance of peer governance, peer review, peer learning and peer collaboration as a collection of nested and emergent values that form the basis for open institutions and open management philosophies (Peters, 2012). These in turn offer significant implications for localised and individual empowerment, where learners can work together using effective pedagogies to meet the needs of their communities.

In this chapter we explore the ‘links’ between openness and innovation through the philosophy of peer learning and forms of ‘creative labour’: collective intelligence, crowdsourcing, social collaboration and the educational web science of the social mind—embodied, embedded, extended and enacted. The first section provides a view of the changing global digital economy, focusing on open education as a movement comprised of digital “knowledge cultures” (Peters & Besley, 2006) that build on overlapping and nested convergences of open source, open data, open access, open publishing and open governance movements. The chapter relates this movement to the concept of ‘openness’ and its underlying political values, as well as forward...

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