How Technology Sparked the Openness Philosophy

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Openness is supported by the technological and educational movement around it. It is important to understand the main features that have strengthened open education.

Open source

There are learning management tools and platforms that employ open source to build a flexible educational technology with continuous improvements. Open source has allowed universities to create easily accessible courses to the world’s academic community.

  • The original idea behind open source followed a decentralized development model that was used by software companies.
  • The result of software limitations and the development of proprietary and licensed code.
  • Peer participation is one of its basic principles.
  • Any open source software must include the source code and be, in most cases, free.
  • Requires software to be redistributable.
  • Software licensed as open source allows an entire community of developers from all over the world to improve the software by providing updates and bug fixes.
  • Has a lower acquisition, implementation, and support costs compared to proprietary software.

Open standards

These are fundamental to open education as they allow interoperability among education platforms and any learning-oriented technology. They diversify the use of technologies and make sure they work together.

  • Any standards that are independent from their developers. Users may also propose changes to them.
  • Can be used by anyone to develop software.
  • No substantial associated costs.
  • Mitigates the obsolescence and dependence of software and hardware creation as they have more longevity and applicability for development. This allows for greater flexibility and easier migration to different systems in the future.
  • Ensures interoperability among platforms and various systems.
  • Guarantees that diverse systems, as well as any other future systems, can communicate.

Open Access

Open access is key to open education as it offers quality content and access to first-hand publications, research and knowledge.

  • Research articles that are free for the public to read, review and use.
  • Opportunities for informational autonomy of scientific authors, but it also poses a challenge for scientific freedom as authors working in public institutions will probably no longer be granted exclusive rights of use.
  • Guarantees the quality of information.
  • Accelerates research and enriches education.
  • Aims to unite a common intellectual dialogue.

Additionally, it can greatly feed into professors’ teaching materials and encourage the students’ scientific and methodical thinking.  

Open CourseWare

These are basic elements of open education because they represent education democratization initiatives and they are one of the best examples of Open Education Resources.

  • An initiative of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), which gave free access to all of its official courses’ materials. This was replicated in universities all over the world.
  • Entails the publication of teaching material as open content. They are intellectual property and ensure the transfer of certain copyrights, such as those of the distribution, reproduction, communication or creation of derivate works.
  • A global movement promoting free and unrestrictive access to knowledge.

Open content

Open content is fundamental to open education because it unites the efforts of all types of openness in a concrete result: open material that may be accessed to via technologies, and open software with freedom to use and distribute information and knowledge.

  • Refers to educational research or materials that may be freely distributed and reused.
  • Based on digital technologies for the generalization and use of material and content.
  • Types of content may vary from previously published books and articles to educational software simulations.
  • Actively supports copyright protection via licenses such as Creative Commons.
  • Open Educational Resources are a direct result of open content.
  • Open content gives way to free higher education that aims to have both collective knowledge and the exchange and reuse of learning as defining traits of open education.


Corrado, E. M. (2005, Spring). The Importance of Open Access, Open Source, and Open Standards for Libraries. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from

Corrado, E. M. (2005, Spring). The Importance of Open Access, Open Source, and Open Standards for Libraries. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from

Kuhlen, R. (2007, June 18). Open access : A paradigm shift for public availability of knowledge. The development in Germany. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from

OpenCourseWare. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2016, from

IGI Global. What is Open Content. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2016, from

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