17 – 30 October 2022

In this topic we will explore the benefits and challenges of openness in education and learning. First, we will consider the usual conceptions of openness and access and ask how this phenomenon may differ from the perspectives of the educator and the learner. Second, we will focus on open educational resources (OER), and the consequent development of open educational practices (OEP). Third, we will look at issues around copyright and in particular the open licensing of content (Creative Commons) and how this opens up new opportunities for collaborative learning and development. 

Today many universities publish course material (lectures, course modules, courses, textbooks) as open educational resources with Creative Commons licenses that allow anyone to reuse and even adapt the material under the terms of the license. Examples of such resource collections are OpenLearn, MIT Open Courseware, Merlot and Open UBC. You can also search for millions of Creative Commons photos via CC Search and Wikimedia Commons. Thousands of free online university courses (MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses) are available in many languages via global or regional MOOC platforms such as edX, Coursera, FutureLearn, FUN (French), Miríadax (Spanish), Edraak (Arabic) and many more.

Activities for all learners   

Introduction podcast

Start investigating open education by listening to our podcast. Listen to the diverse voices from colleagues across the globe discussing on what openness mean to them. Some of them are involved in ONL and some are colleagues from other contexts.


In the first webinar, Exploring Nuances of Open Educational Practices on Wednesday 19 October, 12:00-13:00 (CEST), our guest speaker will be Maha Bali, Associate Professor of Practice, Center for Learning and Teaching, American University in Cairo, Egypt. See the event page.

You can also, during the entire week, share your thoughts in the #ONL222 Twitter community about your own professional experience of open resources, tools and open courses.

In the second webinar on Wednesday 26 October, 12:00-13:00 (CEST) you will get the chance to discuss open education and your PBL work, both in groups and with hosts Kiruthika Ragupathi and Lotta Fröjdfeldt. This is a chance to discuss your group work with other ONL participants. See the event page.

Personal reflections  

Suggested themes for reflection in your personal reflection space:

  • openness: does it matter to you?
  • openness in your own personal practice
  • the role of open educational resources in your own institution
  • the role of technology in open education
  • openness for greater inclusion and social diversity in education
  • finding and using openly licensed resources
  • advantages and disadvantages of open and closed technologies
  • implications of different open course and MOOC formats in relation to your learning experience on this course.

A reminder: If you are aiming for a certificate you need to both write reflective posts and also comment on others’ posts (see how to participate).  

Activities in PBL groups

For guidance on PBL group work including the FISh design please see Learning activities.


As we return to the ‘new normal’ that is likely to blend in-person with online teaching and learning, the expansion of online education is likely to continue. How do you think this will cause an increased interest to shift towards open education and sharing of open educational resources? If you decide to open up your courses, what levels of openness would be appropriate from your own and from your institution’s perspectives? Does your university learning management system (LMS, e.g. Moodle, Canvas, etc) offer opportunities for openness? What support would colleagues need from the leadership? How would you introduce the idea of openness to your students? How would you engage students as partners in this open initiative?

Optional activities

Get that experience!
ONL is a type of MOOC (Massive open online course), though not so massive as most of them. If you have no experience of a MOOC you may want to enroll in one, just to have a look. Class Central  is a good place to search for MOOCs from all the main platforms in the world. Browse the different courses and see what you can find (you may have to register in order to see the activity).  

During this second topic you are encouraged to continue tweeting. Are there, for example, any open resources that you have found useful that you can share? Remember to use the hashtag #ONL222 when tweeting.


By the end of this topic, you will have had the opportunity to

  • discuss open resources, open/closed tools and open participation courses
  • reflect on different aspects of openness in your own context
  • review in groups open features of the chosen activity/resource
  • inquire into open educational practices related to a specific scenario


  Webinar 1:
Wednesday 19 October, 12:00-13:00 (CEST). Exploring Nuances of Open Educational Practices with Maha Bali.

See the event page.

  Webinar 2: Wednesday 26 October, 12:00-13:00 (CEST). A chance to discuss with other PBL group members. Hosts Kiruthika Ragupathi and Lotta Fröjdfeldt

See the event page


During this topic I have:

  • Attended PBL group online meetings
  • Read and watched the recommended resources for the topic
  • Contributed actively to the group work on the scenario
  • Contributed actively to the group discussion in #ONL221
  • Commented on some colleagues’ blog posts
  • Written my reflective blog post on topic 2
  • Studied the recommended resources for this topic.

Readings and other resources



Creative Commons guide. Nice short overview to CC-licensing by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.


Cronin, C. (2017). Open Education, Open Questions. EDUCAUSE Review 52, no. 6 (November/December 2017)

Oddone, K. (2016). PLE or PLN or LMS or OLN?  Blog post about the ONL course.

Ragupathi, K. (2020). Being open: drawing parallels with the Coffee House model.

Further readings

Bali, M., Cronin, C., & Jhangiani, R. S. (2020).Framing Open Educational Practices from a Social Justice Perspective. Journal of Interactive Media in Education.

OER starter kit. Open textbook on how to create and use open educational resources.

Go open: A beginner’s guide to open education. Dublin City University.

Hodgkinson-Williams, C. Arinto, P. (editors) 2017. Adoption and impact of OERs in the global south. African Minds.

Weller, M. (2014). Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press.
(If you can, try to read all of this excellent overview of the whole question of openness but if you can’t, focus on Chapter 4, Open Educational Resources, and Chapter 5, MOOCs.)