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7.1: What is Open Education?

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    Open education refers to educational practices and resources that are openly available for anyone to use, access, modify, and share. It encompasses a variety of initiatives aimed at making education more accessible, affordable, and inclusive. In the context of college students, open education can manifest in several ways:

    1. Open Educational Resources (OER): These are freely accessible, openly licensed materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other educational purposes. OER include textbooks, lecture notes, videos, and other educational materials that are typically available online at no cost.1
      • At California Community Colleges, these are often reflected in courses labeled as 'ZTC' or Zero Textbook Cost. However, ZTC can be achieved through non-OER means as well including providing class textbook sets at the library or designing courses without textbooks.
    2. Open Access Journals: These are scholarly journals that make their articles freely available online to the public. This allows students to access the latest research and academic publications without any financial barriers.
    3. Open Pedagogy: This approach involves engaging students in the creation of open educational resources as part of their learning experience. It promotes collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills among students.

    By embracing open education practices, college students can benefit from a more flexible and diverse learning environment while reducing the financial burden associated with traditional educational resources. Additionally, open education promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration on a global scale.

    What is "Open"?

    Open Educational Resources are accessible and open. This means that, in an ideal world, anyone can use and even edit them. However, in reality, there are different types of licenses that permit different types of use. While all open resources will be available and accessible to anyone, they may have limits on how someone can use them beyond just reading the materials. Most commonly, Open resources are licensed under some version of the Creative Commons license.

    Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC)

    The California Community College systems have lowered the cost of education through their ZTC initiative. This program encourages faculty to develop courses that have no textbook cost. It also requires that ZTC courses be labeled in the class schedule of each college. This enables students to find and enroll in these Zero Textbook Cost courses.

    Enrolling in ZTC courses can help students save money, but it also provides more flexibility in how students can access their course resources, encourages the use of more diverse learning materials, and may even improve student performance.2


    1. SPARC. (n.d.). Open education. in new window)
    2. California Community Colleges. (n.d.). Open education resources. California Community Colleges. in new window)

    This page titled 7.1: What is Open Education? is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Daniel Wilson.

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