I worked once with an educational organisation that had put together a strategic plan and shared it to its employees. They were bringing FREE education to all based on the principles of OPENNESS. The information was free and PDFs were easily accessible to the students on the internet without enrolling. At that moment in time I thought it was pretty cool: “Finally, an educational organisation that committed to bring education to those that cannot afford it!”

Unfortunately my excitement was short lived, about a millisecond, as the words “we are all going to be millionaires” and “students would be charged a minimal monthly fee to again access to assessments and exams” became imprinted on my mind. I found this highly conflicting as they were driving FREE EDUCATION and to me to free means at zero cost.

According to Weller the originators are “despondent about the reinterpretation of openness to mean ‘free’ or ‘online’ without some of the reuse liberties they had envisaged. Concerns are expressed about the commercial interests that are now using openness as a marketing tool.” And I couldn’t agree more – open does not mean free in my eyes. I do believe students should have access to information – quality education for all is the starting point of creating an equal world in my eyes. But I don’t think it equates free – how can it in a digital and institutional space?

Information that is free = to a certain extent yes…

Information should be = open (and I love that)

Students experiences and support = no it can’t be free or open

We’ve got the technologies, we’ve got the knowledge but student learning never reaches its full potential through a content dump. The world of learning is moving away from knowledge and to a paradigm that encourages experiences, let’s not confuse open with free because its simply not sustainable.

Well that’s my humble opinion ?

Happy Sunday!

Open verus Free