My first impression about the concept of Open Education was that of bewilderment. In our webinars and PBL group discussion it felt like we were discussing well known, general principles of how the internet economy works – but we were pretending like we were discussing something more fancy. 

I then went on to read Martin Weller’s book The Battle for Open. After reading the book I felt more at ease, because in the book he acknowledges that part of what the open education concept stands for is actually Web 2.0 concepts… Indeed, according to Mr. Weller the Open Education “movement” is more or less based on the ideas of Open University, Open Source and Web 2.0.

Still, after reading the book, I’m unsure if I really like the term open education. It is a collection of different interrelated ideas, ideas that are not well defined.

Okay, open education is a vision for the future, I get that.

Universities and governments should rally for this vision of “open education” and figure out what they actually want to achieve by it. They are the entities responsible for creating appropriate policies, creating platforms, creating license models and creating incentives for it. And these are things the academic staff cannot do on their own.

But I don’t see open education as a term regular, common, academic staff will ever rally behind. They will never be super inspired by it.

What regular academic staff should be encouraged to do, is yet again to embrace the many possibilities of the internet. The business world has embraced internet and social networks organically, why can the academic staff not do that too without inventing a new set of terminology and frameworks?

If you need a framework to think about the possibilities of the internet, the framework should be the internet economy. It’s the framework everybody else is using.


Openness – or should we just call it the internet economy