The Simulacrum of Massive Open Online Courses representing Open Educational Resources

This research essay is authored by Isabella Winkler, student in the master program Business Education at Universität Innsbruck and participant in the 2017 edition of the course “Open Organizations and Organizing Openness“.

(Foto: Pete, CC-BY 2.0)

Globalization and digitalization are keywords which characterize today’s society. The process of digitalization and dissemination of data has already found its way into education. It is one of the biggest concerns when talking about modernizations in educational systems (Dobusch & Heimstädt, 2016). One primary goal of recent education is to make knowledge accessible anywhere, anytime and for anyone. As a result education becomes egalitarian and contributes to the public’s welfare. In his educational ideal Humboldt already registered that it is the state’s duty to make knowledge available for everyone even for the poorest (Gaisbauer, Kaperer, Koch & Sedmak, 2013). Going one step further beyond open access for everybody the UNESCO has come up with the conception of Open Educational Resources (OER). “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others.” (Atkins, Brown & Hammond, 2007, p. 4).

What also came along with this Open Education Movement were Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in the segment of higher education. Since 2008 these educational opportunities offered by universities and commercial organizations have shaped the educational infrastructure. The number of MOOCs has rapidly grown in the last ten years because educational institutions have to fulfill the needs of potential students and to meet the requirements of the fast changing educational market towards learner-centered and individualized learning methods. MOOCs are online courses which provide each person free access to university level education without paying a fee and without the need to fulfill certain admission requirements (Yuan & Powell, 2013). Though, at this point it raises the question: To what extent does the ‘Open’ in Massive Open Online Courses correspond to the ‘Open’ in Open Educational Resources or do MOOCs not overcome the hurdle of providing only Open Access instead of Open Education? Continue reading “The Simulacrum of Massive Open Online Courses representing Open Educational Resources”