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Open Education

All about open education and how to find open educational resources

Open Education

Open education is a philosophy about the way people should produce, share, and build on knowledge. Proponents of open education believe everyone in the world should have access to high-quality educational experiences and resources, and they work to eliminate barriers to this goal. Such barriers might include high monetary costs, outdated or obsolete materials, and legal mechanisms that prevent collaboration among scholars and educators.

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration gives a powerful statement of a shared vision and common strategies widely shared among Open Education advocates. Later declarations include the 2012 Paris OER Declaration, which specifically calls on governments to openly license publicly funded educational materials.

Open Education is more than just open licensing of resources, however. Opening up pedagogy, or open educational practices encourage students to become more engaged and invested in their education.

The open education movement includes: instructors, students, librarians, administrators, funding agencies, governments and policy makers. This library guide provides an overview of open education, gives information about advocacy organizations, suggests actions that instructors and students can take, explains where to find Open Educational Resources, and highlights our Open Education Week activities each year.


Defining the "Open" in Open Education

Remember the 5 Rs!

The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

Framing the Issue

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the cost of textbooks increased 1,041% between 1977 and 2015; more than triple the rate of inflation during the same period. Skyrocketing textbook costs pose a stark challenge to students unable to afford the excessive prices. Restrictive prices are forcing students to forgo purchasing textbooks, negatively impacting the quality of education received. Confronted with the systematic challenge of rising textbook costs throughout higher education, the open education movement works to overcome technological, financial, and legal barriers between students and information.

Rising textbook prices and the resulting challenges to student learning is a single component within open education. Open education is based on a collective vision where education is a guaranteed right afforded to everyone through a collaboratively developed collection of openly shared resources. Utilizing the influence and potency of the internet allows for the rapid and free sharing of educational resources to reuse and revise content. Not only students, but everyone deserves access to information and ideas with the power to transform one's knowledge and skills.

The Reason for Rising Textbook Prices

Learn More

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.