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What is open education?

Open education (OE) is an approach to education that aims to remove barriers to learning by engaging in open educational practices (OEP) in the classroom and through the development and use of open educational resources (OER).

What are open educational practices?

Open educational practices (OEP), also known as open pedagogy, are teaching and learning practices where openness is enacted within all aspects of instructional practice, including the design of learning outcomes, the selection of teaching resources, and the planning of activities and assessment. Leveraging networked technologies, OEP engages faculty and students in collaborative knowledge creation while empowering students to be full participants and partners in learning communities.

What are open educational resources? 

Open educational resources (OER) are free to use and openly licensed teaching and learning materials which can include textbooks, course reading lists, assignments, case studies, lectures and other forms of learning materials that have been produced by experts and educators in the field. Educational resources can also include scholarly outputs that are in the public domain and therefore also free to use as part of a course. As stated by leading open education proponent David Wiley, “‘open content’ describes a copyrightable work that is licensed in a way that ‘provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities which are retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.” 

What is the difference between ‘free’ and ‘open’ resources?

From SPARC’s FAQ on Open Educational Resources: “Open educational resources are and always will be free, but not all free resources are OER. Free resources may be temporarily free or may be restricted from use at some time in the future (including by the addition of fees to access those resources). Moreover, free-­but-­not-­open resources may not be modified, adapted or redistributed without obtaining special permission from the copyright holder.”

This content has been adapted from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries's Open Education FAQ webpage, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 international licence.