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UN University releases a FREE and UPDATED Book (v1.5) on: ‘The Why and How of Open Education’

The Collaborative Creativity Group CCG at UNU-MERIT has just released an updated version v1.5 of their book on ‘The Why and How of Open Education’( This updated version includes – inter alia – a new chapter focusing on the Key Challenges of Open Education (Chapter 5).

This chapter draws on findings from the EU funded openED and openSE projects, and on findings from a 2011 survey carried out by the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG). This updated version v1.5 is released in parallel with the ELIG white paper titled ‘Open Education: a wake up-call for the learning industry?’, which summarizes the ELIG survey findings.

The release of this updated version v1.5 coincides with the start of the openED course on ‘Business and Management Competencies in a Web 2.0 world’, whose third edition begins on 7 November 2011. Please check the course website for an inside look at our work on Open Education (

Book Abstract: ‘The Why and How of Open Education’, UNU-MERIT 2011

This book is an introduction to Open Education (OE), giving practical guidance on the design and delivery of OE courses while wrestling with theoretical considerations of this new and emerging domain. Educators are the main targets, but it will also be relevant to policy makers, senior education managers and the learning industry as a whole.
The book draws from three sources: first from well-established online learning ecosystems, including Open Source Software communities; second from existing Open Courses in traditional formal education and related design models such as the Meta-design framework (Fischer, 2007); and third from EU funded research and pilot projects: FLOSSCom (2006-2008), openSE (2009-2011) and openED (2009-2012). This piloting work enabled a thorough analysis and modification of assumptions that emerged from sources one and two.

The first chapter provides a brief introduction to the OE field, addressing the question: ‘Why Open Education?’. The second chapter presents case studies from the openSE and openED projects on how OE might look in practice. Sustainability is as important for OE as for traditional formal education, so before joining any kind of OE venture it is important to have a clear understanding of how such a venture would be sustained, as discussed in chapter three. Theoretical considerations and practical guidance for the design and delivery of OE are presented in chapter four. The fifth chapter highlights some of the key challenges towards the implementation of OE, based on the piloting results and stakeholder consultation that were carried out within the openSE and openED projects. Concluding remarks and future prospects are presented in the sixth and final chapter.

Read v1.5 of the book online at:

White Paper Abstract: ‘Open Education: a wake up-call for the learning industry? Is open education fundamental to a sustainable learning industry or a noble but commercially flawed cause?’, ELIG 2011

Based on research from across the breadth of the learning industry, there are clear indications that the commercial learning industry has not yet fully engaged with open education (OE) or open educational resources (OER). The commercial hesitation to adopt OE is in large part due to a perceived lack of associated new business models. It is also due to the perception of OE being a potential threat to existing learning business models. This view neglects the important innovation potential that OE brings to the learning market. We present evidence that OE is growing quickly – e.g. in the academic world – even though only few industry members are currently supporting it. This creates a potential for market disruption – in similar ways as the music industry has experienced with the rise of Internet filesharing or the software industry with the rise of Open Source. To not proactively engage with open education, its production, use or practices, could present a serious threat to the sustainability of the current learning market.

The White Paper is available from the ELIG website at: (from mid of November 2011 onwards)

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