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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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Introduction: Open Education—The Past, the Present and the Future




There has been much interest in open education over the last decade, which can be interpreted as another sign of the ongoing transformation from an industrialized to a knowledge-based digital society. Open education has been resurrected as a reform project with a long tradition in education history, going back at least to the Enlightenment, which brought about ideas of free speech and communication (e.g., via free press). With the advancement of innovative information and communication technologies embraced under the label “Web 2.0,” social production of knowledge (e.g., Wikipedia), open standards and licenses and a new way of receiving and distributing information have emerged with profound impact on educational practices. Openness seems to articulate an attitude that resembles the core spirit of education, which centers around the notion of sharing. On a deep cultural level, this involves the moral obligation of parents to raise awareness of the various meanings of sharing in the process of enculturation. It is also expected that teachers—as well as experienced individuals in general—share their knowledge to ensure the prosperity of a society. Interactions and collaboration are based on the willingness of sharing—not only information and time but also “soft things,” such as feelings of discovery and joy.

The liberal story of education and education as an engine of modernity is a history of increasing openness, politically linking education to the open society and its norms of freedom and equality....

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