OER and Sustainability Models

Unit 1. Understanding the ‘open education approach’ and OER’s characteristics

1.1 Overview of the open education approach

The concept of “open education” is not recent. In fact, the concept of “openness” in education won a new term with the development of information and communication technologies, in the late twentieth century and in particular with the Internet.

There isn´t a consensual definition but the concept of “open education” became popular after 1970 with the beginning (and creation) of the Open Universities movement. It is described and used in various contexts, which involve a series of practices, some more traditional and others more recent (Santos, 2012).

The concept of “open” was related with the access variable because this model hasn´t got any kind of prerequisites.

With the evolution of the context, the term also evolved. In fact, we can call the past decade as the "open decade" because it witnessed the expansion of the opening movement of access to knowledge in its many forms (open source, open access, open content and open practices).

In Fig 1 we can observe some of the initiatives of open education.

Fig. 1 - Role of openness in education: a historical reconstruction (Peter & Deimann, 2013)