Open Education is an umbrella term to cover the different areas of focus within the CSU program spearheaded by u!magine. According to the Open Education Consortium, “Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.” This includes utilizing the affordances of digital technologies to create freely accessible and ubiquitous knowledge bases (Blessinger & Bliss, 2016).

As a member of the Open Education Consortium and OERu, CSU connects internationally with thought leaders and initiatives and views Open Education as being wider than Open Education Resources (OER) and Open Content. UNESCO defined OER as ‘any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license….that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share’.

Through Open Educational Practices, defined by Cronin (2018) as “practices that include the creation, use and reuse of open educational resources (OER) as well as open pedagogies and open sharing of teaching practices”, our aim is to employ effective learning design and learning resources development to connect learners with new opportunities and pathways for study.

Open Pathways tasters

The u!magine Open Pathways initiative includes the development of short, freely available online courses or mini-modules that will articulate into fee-paying single subjects and courses at all levels:  postgraduate, undergraduate, university preparation, and continuing professional development.

A ‘taster’ online course is usually designed to be completed as an independent self-paced introduction to a subject or area.  Taster courses contain a limited number of topics providing learners with a “taste” of what it would be like to pursue further study and/or work in that particular area.

References

  • Blessinger, P., & Bliss, T. (2016). Introduction to open education: Towards a human rights theory. In P. Blessinger & T. Bliss (Eds.), Open education: International perspectives in higher education. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers. http://www.openbookpublishers.com/htmlreader/978-1-78374-278-3/contents.xhtml
  • Cronin, C. (2018). Openness and praxis: A situated study of academic staff meaning-making and decision-making with respect to openness and the use of open educational practices in higher education. (Doctor of Philosophy). NUI Galway.
  • Open Education Consortium. (n.d.). About the Open Education Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.oeconsortium.org/about-oec/