Education has been a critical indicator of society’s advancement in the global marketplace. Digital transformation has allowed education to become more flexible and accessible. Students can access the Internet and mobile apps to learn and share information anywhere they want, at a fraction of the cost of traditional on-site education.
Technology has transformed education. Students’ expectations have also changed. Today’s students behave just like customers in businesses: they expect fast, easy customer service from their schools. Many colleges, EdTech startups, grade schools and colleges have adopted this new standard for student experience.
Open education is a concept that bridges the gap between traditional educational methods and their outdated legacy. It also offers the opportunity for open learning and EdTech.
What is open education?
Open education can be described as an attitude, a practice and a way of teaching. Open education centres on the belief that education can be strengthened by sharing it openly. It seeks to achieve many of the same goals as the open-source technology community, including equal access to information, closing gaps and disparities, and sharing knowledge with the broader community.
Open education is based on open educational resources (OER) and opens licensing. OER is educational materials that are openly licensed and allow anyone to modify, share, and use at no cost. OERs are defined by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as “teaching and learning materials in any medium – digital and otherwise” that are either in the public domain or released under an open licence that allows no-cost access to, use, adaptation, and redistribution for others with limited restrictions.
What is the difference between OERs and other online courses such as MOOCs?
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. Although MOOCs may seem to fall under the umbrella of open education, they are pretty distinct. MOOCs and free materials cannot be copied or altered in any way. Their material cannot legally be copied, and the author cannot authorize any modifications to the course.
Open educational resources (OERs), on the other hand, are similar to open-source code. All users are granted rights without needing permission from copyright holders. Users’ rights are clearly defined and easy to understand, unlike proprietary educational materials like MOOCs. It’s clear that online courses offer the same accessibility as OERs, but don’t necessarily have the flexibility or accuracy in accessing the most current information.
Open education is when an OER is given an open license. This allows users to participate in the five characteristics of open education (also known as the 5Rs).
- You can make, own and manage your copy of the content.
- Use the content as-is.
- Modify, adapt, modify, improve or alter the content.
- To create something new, combine the original or modified content with OER.
- You can share your original content, revisions or remixes with other people. Closed copyright licensing is prohibited.
Open education: The benefits
Open education has many benefits in the education sector. Open education can enhance student learning by providing flexibility and access that allows students to do their work more efficiently. Schools have already seen the benefits of open education. Several districts and educational systems have adopted open education in large numbers and plan to continue doing so.
Teachers can make quick changes to lessons as the information is updated. Students can also help point out outdated or incorrect information. The feedback can be used to improve the relevance of lessons to current events and make them more understandable from a user experience perspective (UX).
These are just a few of the many reasons why open education is better than proprietary course material. These are just a few of the many benefits that open education offers students:
OERs can be used to save money for students as they are much less expensive than traditional on-site education. OERs are more cost-effective than traditional textbooks, and SUNY and CUNY students saved about $12 million by using OERs.
- Faculty members can have more academic freedom as they can modify the lessons.
- Students will have a better learning experience, as the UX can easily be updated.
- Students with different learning styles or learning speeds can be accommodated. This allows students to work at their own pace.
- Reduce expenses and help schools save money on space and people to teach lessons
- Contributing to the educational mission by achieving tremendous student success
Most districts that use loose materials include them in their existing curriculums or programs as supplements or formalities. Teachers may also use available lesson plans online to enrich their students’ learning or provide extra practise for students struggling to grasp a concept. Users who downloaded materials from EngageNY (the online library of standard Core-aligned curricula maintained by New York State’s education department) over 45 million times are a real-world use case.
Digital transformation is changing the way that students learn through technology. It also impacts the way that schools offer education. Open education is an option as schools face falling enrollment rates. Open education allows schools to improve student experience and address industry challenges. A better student experience is vital in attracting and retaining top talent.
Smart campuses and open education adoption can give schools a competitive edge to meet the sector’s demands to meet new learning standards.
Do you want to transform your school digitally to improve the student experience? For more information on how we help schools modernize systems for today’s students, visit our education workflow page.
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