Openness Defined


“Anita Zijdemans Boudreau characterizes open education as”….iterations of social and technological innovations that reduce barriers to access, and create multiple opportunities for educational practice” (2014).

She applies systems thinking to openness in education and describes what it looks like:

Open Learning
Open Teaching
•Informed through observations versus preconceptions
•Emphases personal achievement; reflection; freedom of choice
•Promotes self-directed learning & inquiry
•Models transparency; authentic problem solving
Open Content
•5Rs: reatina, reuse, revise, remix redistribute
Open Environment
Open Design
Open source, open access, open content, and Massive Open Online Courses(MOOCs)

Openness in Education, Systems Thinking, and the Practitioner. Anita Zijdemans Boudreau (2014)

“Openness is the new paradigm of social production in the global knowledge economy”(Peters, 2008).

Open educational resources are digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research.


Margulies, 2005.

Users adapt resources to align with their cultural, curricular and pedagogical requirements.

The two most important aspects of openness have to do with free availability over the Internet and as few restrictions as possible on the use of the resource, whether technical, legal or price barriers.

This kind of openness blurs the traditional distinction between the “consumer” and the “producer”. The term “user-producer” is sometimes used to highlight this blurring of roles.

To ensure the graceful functioning of this ecosystem, works of authorship should be free, and by freedom we mean:

• the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
• the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
• the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
• the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative work


It is not enough for the resource to be free to use, it also has to be widely accessible and users must be able to make alterations and adaptations.

When is a resource considered to be educational? The term does not exclude material that was not specifically designed for education.

Resources include both the learning content and the necessary tools and implementation resources.

Granularity is a relative measurement of how general or specific a piece of information is. The more granular the more specific.

OER give users insight into culture-specific methods and approaches to teaching and learning. (Albright, 2005)

5 Rs


The Licenses



Margulies, A. (2005). Graphic illustration. “MIT Opencourseware – A New Model for Open Sharing”, presentation at the OpenEd Conference at Utah State University, September.</span