What is open education?


I am still new in this space and am a bit confused what exactly open education is.
What is your definition of open education and what is the goal and what is it not? Is there one main book which is seen as a must read? Also you are often writing, that the word open is being misused. In which ways?

thanks for the help!

Open education involves sharing, producing, and building on knowledge at no cost. Motivated individuals strive to promote education without seeking financial gain. They are intrinsically motivated and publish open educational resources under Creative Commons licenses. However, universities often misuse the term “open education” by labeling their intentional business efforts as such. That is the only reason why most of the projects of some universities failed to sustain after the end of funding.

Have a look at some of the resources I have published under CC


Best Wishes

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In regards to resources for open education, you may be interested in reading some works from Lawrence Lessig. If my memory serves me, he is a legal scholar who helped setup the Creative Commons licensing system. His earlier works in this regard are “Free Culture” and “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace”.

I made a few short explainers here:

and a blog post to demystify open:

hope they help!

Thank you for the replies! But I can still not clearly explain what open education means and what the final goal is. What you are describing is mostly open resources that teachers can use to build their lectures. In my thinking, this has not so much value for the student, except that he does not need to buy an expensive book. But he still has to go to a lecture in a university or whatever, which is the total opposite of open. So how can open education be used in an open way? I think the only option, is to have open courses that teach you and at best also get a certificate for it. Single articles on the internet like the ones written by @Munirmoosa seem to me like open research, which is also important but I think not here for teaching but providing new insights and research. Or is open research a subgroup of open education?

Open Education is a philosophy aimed at the widespread dissemination of education to a broader audience without cost. However, it’s noteworthy that ‘NO’ holds political connotations within the realm of open education.

You’ve emphasized open courses with certificates, such as the one I’ve created


It’s evident that many individuals prioritize certificates over the open content itself. However, it’s important to note that simply offering open courses doesn’t fully encapsulate open education. There are many illiterate individuals worldwide who lack access to any form of education, let alone online courses. Therefore, the shift towards open education requires addressing broader accessibility issues beyond just online courses.

Therefore, open education represents a comprehensive concept, encompassing various facets such as online open courses, open research, and open e-books under its expansive umbrella.

Best Wishes

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thanks you @Munirmoosa for clarifying that open research is under the umbrella of open education. Cool that you made such courses! I think I have a better understanding now.

You are always welcome to collaborate with me

Best Wishes

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Thanks for being “open” enough, Martin, to ask a fundamental question. The answer is much more than one book or resource, we are talking about an entire field of practice, research that has been ongoing for decades.

As @Munirmoosa suggests, its more a way of thinking, believing, though I might not use only “cost” as a barrier that we seek to remove.

There is a fairly well-written definition in what may be one of the hallmark examples of the potential of public knowledge creation, Wikipedia (not without some issues, that’s another discussion).

It’s baked into many things, including the name and the statement from organization I work for

We envision a world where everyone, everywhere has access to the high-quality education and training they desire; where education is seen as an essential, shared, and collaborative social good.

and you will find more from the “node” or subgroup of Open Education Global that is focused on open education at community college, CCCOER, or more broadly vocational and adult education sectors in other parts of the world.

But we do not own any definition or profer to have the “best”.

You of course will come across hundreds, thousands, or definitions out there. Maybe more importantly is the one we craft for ourselves, and not only write, but is seen in our actions (I am an idealist).

But yes, it is much broader than course materials, and what is used in academic halls. Keep asking these questions, and for those reading out there, please add thoughts, ideas here to guide Martin (and others).

I am not sure there is a heirachy, but there are the large family of Opens. Open Research, with overlap to Open Data, Open Access, Open Science, of course Open Source. I’d say they are on ther same diagram with possible Venn overlaps.

Also, look beyond academic settings- community education, e.g.

Why not think big about education?

Hello @OAIT Welcome to OEGlobal Connect! What an excellent question.

This is the kind of question where the answers change according to the experience and focus of the person answering it … all of these answers on this page are incredible, and many open education heroes - have tried to answer it here:

If you are keen to learn more, take a look at the “Get Started” section here.