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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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The ‘open’ of ‘open education’ has become a much more ambiguous term over the past decade or so. Although the roots of open education go back much further, the modern interpretation of open education has largely been aligned with the development of open, distance education models, such as that pioneered by The Open University in the United Kingdom. More recently, the influence of open source software, open approaches from the Web 2.0 sphere, open access publishing, open education resources (OER) and massive open online courses (MOOCs) has seen a wider interpretation of what openness means in education. There has been a rise in the popularity of both the term and its uptake by mainstream education.

However, this burgeoning popularity of all things open has led to confusion around the term itself. Does it apply to traditional distance education or openly licensed content or free courses? There is a danger in the term becoming essentially meaningless. Allied to this is a sense that much of the work in the open education field is implementation driven, for example, the development of open textbooks to supplant expensive, proprietary ones.

The field, however, in its more recent, broader interpretation, is reaching a state of maturity. Creative Commons was founded in 2001 and MIT launched its OpenCourseWare project in 2002. While the early phases of a field are often typified by application and advocacy as it reaches a level of maturity, more reflective,...

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