The word “open” can be used in almost any context and very often it will bring a positive association with it.
In some cases it does not matter if one uses the term precisely, but when used to describe educational resources it is crucial that we understand the difference between “open” as in open access and “open” in its more pure form, for example a resource that is licensed under Creative Commons.
Many of the MOOCs that are launched these days will give open access but the content is not released under a free license. As you might know one of the “O”s in MOOC stands for Open, so this can be confusing.
My top 4 reasons for the “O” to be important are:
- An open resource under a Creative Commons license will be free forever – with open access resources the author can revoke your access to their resources at any time.
- Open educational resources promote sharing – open access limits sharing
- An open resource gives the teacher(or student) the possibility to make their own version in their own context, this gives every teacher control over the end product presented in the classroom.
- Open promotes the dissemination of knowledge into smaller languages trough translation. For teachers and students in smaller languages it will be very important to be able to translate and and re-contextualize instead of starting to develop all their resources from the ground. This is simply a matter of funding and for smaller languages and developing countries