What does 'open' really mean?

Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, Jul 12, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Another article on open education hidden behind a journal paywall, but who cares when we have Tony Bates to provide us with what is probably much more insightful analysis. And I certainly support his observation about the model being described here: "I think the idea of opening up classes to non-registered students is a good one, but not just making them relatively ‘outside' participants of a class designed deliberately for face-to-face teaching. Wouldn't it be more logical to open up classes deliberately designed for distance delivery to non-registered participants, and design them carefully for joint use?" Yes. This is what George Siemens and I have done with the Connectivist-style courses. Bates also says "our systems are unnecessarily restrictive in allowing in particular mature adults to access university programs. The real problem is a lack of places in the system, and hence over-zealous admission requirements, rather than finding means to combine registered students with others." Too true.
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