Skip to Main Content

Open education

A guide to open education, including open teaching and creation of open educational resources (OER)

Upcoming Teaching Spotlight webinars

A collection of computer and laptop screens showing online meetings.

We run regular online presentations by guest speakers on different aspects of teaching. Recordings of past webinars are also available.

RMIT's Open Scholarship Policy - What It Means For You as an Educator

Join us for a session introducing RMIT’s Open Scholarship Policy as we discuss what it means for you as an educator. 

Delve into the core aspects of open education and gain a comprehensive understanding of the university's enterprise-wide policy.  

This session aims to heighten awareness and illuminate the crucial role educators play in advancing open scholarship. Explore the policy's implications for your work and discover how you can actively contribute to the university's commitment to open educational practices.  

Date & Time:  March 20, 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

What is open education?

The concept of open education is a core strand of the broader open scholarship ecosystem, driven by a movement of educators who seek to promote the implementation of open policies, practices, and resources in education. The meaning of open education is evolving globally and quickly and encompasses a broad range of practices and techniques.

At its core, it seeks to remove barriers to learning by leveraging the power of the internet to share resources, tools and practices freely across the globe regardless of geographical location, socioeconomic status, or institutional affiliation. RMIT University supports the principles and practice of open education and provides assistance to teachers and learners in this sphere in a number of ways.

Discover more on our 'Open education' page.

"Open Wires" by opensourceway is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


'Open education' is referred to in the literature using a range of terms including open pedagogy, ​open educational practices and OER-enabled pedagogy.

Open education is "about teaching and learning practices and tools that empower teachers and learners to access, create and share knowledge openly and learn deeply" (Burnett, Solomon & Healy, 2019, p. 78).

Open education supports "freedom for individuals to access content to reuse it in ways they see fit, to develop new methods of working and to take advantage of the opportunities the digital networked world offers” (Weller, 2013, p. 1).

Several crucial components define open education:

  • Open educational resources (OER): These are educational materials with open licenses that grant anyone the freedom to utilize, adapt, and distribute them. Among these resources are textbooks, videos, interactive simulations, lesson plans, and more. Open licenses, such as those facilitated by Creative Commons, enable creators to outline how their materials can be employed and shared.

  • Open access journals: These academic journals grant public access to their content, foregoing paywalls that limit entry. This approach to publishing promotes widespread sharing of research and knowledge.

  • Open online courses: These internet-based courses are often free. Notably, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) allow anyone with online access to enroll and participate.

  • Open pedagogy: This strategy involves crafting teaching and learning practices that stimulate collaboration, engagement, and active learning. It encourages students to co-create knowledge and contribute to the learning process.

  • Open licensing: For example, Creative Commons licenses enable creators to stipulate how others can utilize, modify, and share their work. These licenses cultivate a culture of collaboration and sharing.

  • Open data: By making research data openly accessible, others can validate findings, conduct further research, and expand on existing knowledge.


Burnett, M., Solomon, J. & Healy, H. (2019). Getting started with open educational resources. Pressbooks
Weller, M. (2013). The battle for open - a perspective. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2013(3), 1-14.

Benefits of open education

The benefits of open education include:

  • improving access to education
  • reducing the cost of educational materials
  • fostering collaboration among educators and learners
  • promoting innovation in teaching and learning practices

Open education is especially valuable in addressing issues of affordability, accessibility, and inclusivity in education, as it allows learners from all backgrounds to access high-quality resources and engage in meaningful learning experiences.

Why Open Education Matters (2:50 mins) by Ope Bukola is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Principles of open education

Three principles inform the key features and benefits of open education: social justice, learner driven aims and connected learning.

Social justice

A social justice approach to open education manifests in higher education through:

  • Redistributive justice - free access to educational materials for all students
  • Recognitive justice - recognising the diverse experiences of marginalised students
  • Representational justice - facilitating the voice of marginalised students (Deakin, 2023).

Learner driven aims

The aim of open education is to facilitate an "access-oriented commitment to learner-driven education AND a process of designing architectures and using tools for learning that enable learners to shape the public knowledge commons of which they are a part" (DeRosa & Ravi, 2017, para 14).

Connected learning

Open education connects educators and learners through the use of resources capable of the 5R’s (Wiley, n.d.).

This is achieved through using, reusing, and creating open education resources and adopting collaborative pedagogical practices that employ social and participatory technologies for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and sharing, and empowerment of learners (Cronin, 2018)​.

This approach provides opportunities for students to connect with each other and share experiences, information, and activities.​


Cronin, C. & MacLaren, I. (2018). Conceptualising OEP: A review of theoretical and empirical literature in Open Educational Practices. Open Praxis10(2), 127–143., CC BY 4.0
Deakin University. (2023). Australian open textbooks as social justice.
DeRosa, R. & Ravi, J. (2017). Open pedagogy. In A guide to making open textbooks with students. Rebus Community. CC-BY 4.0
Wiley, D. (n.d.). Defining the "open" in open content and open educational resources. CC-BY 4.0


Related guides