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. Open content embraces not only the sharing of information, but the sharing of pedagogies and experiences as well. 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. It presents a cost-effective alternative to textbooks and other materials. As customizable educational content — and insights about how to teach and learn with it — is increasingly made 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. There are two sides to understanding open content — on the one side are institutions that are allowing content to be shared. On the other are those institutions that wish to make use of open content. Understanding the frame of reference and context for an open content project is more and more dependent on knowing which of those groups an institution belongs, as the challenges and issues are quite different.


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

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

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

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

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