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Embedding Open Education at universities: Issues to resolve

Phillips, R., Makowiecka, K., Parker, J., Cake, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-0072-9024 and Creagh, C. (2013) Embedding Open Education at universities: Issues to resolve. In: Teaching and Learning Forum 2013: Design, develop, evaluate - The core of the learning environment, 7 - 8 February 2013, Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A.


Universities have a long tradition of sharing information and knowledge, through books, journals and conferences. Recently, various 'open' initiatives have emerged to extend this sharing to teaching materials, in what we broadly call Open Education. This presentation will unpack some of the concepts involved in Open Education, including Open Content, (an overarching term encompassing Open Educational Resources, OER; Open Textbooks; and Open Courseware), and Open Courses.

We will discuss various elements of open content, exploring their emerging use at Murdoch University. Apart from some human factors, the major barriers to the use and production of open content are:

•Intellectual property (IP) legislation and regulations, which assert the University's ownership of IP embodied in teaching materials, and impede the ability of staff to freely share content.

•Transnational education (TNE) business models, in which the University licenses access to the content of a unit to another entity.

The presentation will discuss the use of Creative Commons licensing to protect the rights of both the university and the individual creator, while still allowing use and repurposing by others. It will also explore the idea of licensing certification for passing a unit rather than licensing access to content.

It will then turn to the concept of Open Courses, which complement open content by adding learning tasks and teacher support, either implicitly or explicitly. The conversation will continue with a critique of the evolving, and much-hyped, Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) concept, analysing the pros and cons of open access to a largely teacher-free learning environment from a pedagogical perspective and the nature of students who might successfully engage with it.

The presentation will conclude with an analysis of the institutional factors involved in contributing to Open Education. We argue that a considered approach to Open Education can provide benefits to students, staff and the institution, but that a wholesale adoption of the MOOC approach may be costly, with insufficient return on investment.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Educational Development Unit
Library & Information Services
School of Education
School of Engineering and Energy
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Conference Website:
Notes: Presentation
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