Open Education is Not New
One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.
― Carl Sagan
When the Open University opened in England in 1971, more than 25,000 students signed up for the first round of courses.
The promise of open admissions and public classes broadcasted on London’s television airwaves was a veritable revolution in the way professors could deliver their lectures far beyond the walls of the classroom. This was decades before the internet was available in every household, but the promise of a free, high-quality education was as appealing then as it is now.
Open education is not new. MOOCs or massive open online courses are only the newest wave of an education trend that has been ever tending towards open format, free enrollment, play-as-you-go. Whereas the Open University began on television, MOOCs are now being delivered for much cheaper over internet connections – and much further and in better quality than television. At a basic level, online courses can be paused and restarted, but they also be saved, shared, podcasted, and transported anywhere. The online education trend follows the trend of all communications becoming higher quality, further reaching, and cheaper, and we are witnessing a major turning point in terms of offering free education materials. We at the Open Brain Project are pushing for more crowd-sourced materials that are available to be distributed in an open source manner, and even improved upon and edited by other experts in the community. We believe open education should also be accompanied by a set of standards that are just as open, and to this end we see peer-review as the method to maintain the most diversified set of expert voices in the accreditation processes.
If you talk to cultures around the world, they generally want the same things – to have close family ties, to do fulfilling work, and to provide their children with the resources and the education to become successful adults. But there are millions of people around the world with no access to educational materials, few or no teachers, and corrupt social institutions that cannot fund their own schools. We hope the new education resources online will spur an entire new revolution in students’ access to good learning materials, from pre -school all the way up to graduate programs.
Photo Credit: eurostudies.co.uk