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.

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

  • With open content, students save money, and instructors have more freedom in customizing courses. Tools such as Anthologize, http://anthologize.org/, allow instructors to grab open content from across the web and package it into a coherent course text; likewise, instructors can use Connexions, http://cnx.org/, to author, select and arrange course modules and connect the course to supplementary materials. Often users can remix and reuse open content, contributing to knowledge.- lisaspiro lisaspiro I agree this will be a good idea in developing context ¬¬¬¬
  • In the liberal arts world, it'll be student-generated content. For one, our campuses are too small to devote many scarce strategic resources to large-scale or faculty-driven projects. For another, we've very keen on undergraduate research and creativity. Some of that latter output will hit the OERsphere.- bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Some organizations (such as OLI) are developing high quality content that can support students in lower division, general education courses in a more media-rich and robust way. Higher education institutions may not have the funds or technology to develop such high quality, diverse content so these types of tools/content can serve to further support and supplement learning at the lower levels.- drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 18, 2010
  • Happenings in the community colleges Sofia Open Content Initiative http://sofia.fhda.edu/ and Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources http://oerconsortium.org/ - alan alan Oct 18, 2010
  • Explosion of content and activity in places like WikiEducator http://wikieducator.org/ - alan alan Oct 18, 2010

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

  • Perhaps mention efforts to connect open content to communities, e.g. the pilot project between OCW and OpenStudy, http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/ocw-openstudy.html, and to assessment, e.g. Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative, http://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/ There are also some interesting economic models for open content emerging, e.g. Flat World Knowledge, which provides access to textbooks for free online but charges a relatively small price for the downloadable PDF or the print-on-demand versions. http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/about - lisaspiro lisaspiro- vkumar vkumar Oct 18, 2010
  • I see this topic as intimately related to the Alternative Licensing section. There is a distinct difference, but it's pretty nuanced. - laurenpressley laurenpressley Oct 5, 2010 ˜˜ - bdieu bdieu
  • Open Educational Practices. See: http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/2085 - bdieu bdieu
  • Individuals in higher educations create, and then often essentially give away their intellectual property to publishers, which, in turn, is sold back to higher education. This model is going to break as we see even better resourced universities dropping subscriptions and seeking alternatives to commercial textbooks in efforts to reduce costs. - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 8, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • The Open Content movement has largely supplanted the more formal Learning Objects approach - for more on the whys of this, please see the Learning Objects page (http://horizon.wiki.nmc.org/Learning+Objects). - rubenrp rubenrp Oct 3, 2010 - bdieu bdieu And more ike Are Oers Just Re-Usable Learning Objects With An Open License? http://blogs.cetis.ac.uk/johnr/2010/09/01/rlosoersopened/ - alan alan Oct 18, 2010
  • Open content expands access to learning and helps educational institutions meet their core goal of disseminating knowledge. Further, it expands (and perhaps challenges) notions of expertise, as some of the most popular open educational content is created by people without formal appointments at universities (see, for instance, Khan Academy). - lisaspiro lisaspiro
  • Creative re-use, appropriation, remix and creation of resources tailored to fit specific needs and context instead of pre-packaged materials enforced top-down. A must for modern pedagogical activity. - bdieu bdieu- vkumar vkumar Oct 18, 2010
  • Related to the above, , the opportunity to provide alternate pathways and resources to learners through open content and enabling tools that allow the selection and harvesting of content and applications like Recommenders.Vijay- vkumar vkumar Oct 18, 2010
  • Of course there are challenges to be overcome with Finding, Getting and Using openly available content is manner that is educationally efficient and effective (i.e. in terms of the learner's time).- vkumar vkumar Oct 18, 2010
  • The move to open content also has potential cost savings. Our content producers are already paid to create this content, which we then turn around and purchase back from publishers. If nothing else we have seen the move to open scholarly publications having some commercial publishers creating some alternatives to traditional models. - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 8, 2010
  • Corporations and foundations are the real drivers for open content, not schools. Check the Khan Academy story, or the Google Books project. Yes, I'm being critical of the academy, but I'm right.- bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010

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

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.