Skip to Main Content

Go Open: a beginner's guide to open education

A guide to engaging with open education practices in your teaching, research and support activities

Open education is a philosophy that believes “everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint” (Cape Town Open Education Declaration, 2012). Fundamental to the open philosophy is that higher education is a public good. Therefore, universities' knowledge should be freely accessible and openly available to everyone (Weller, 2014). Engaging with openness in higher education directly links to the UN Sustainable Development goal 4 - Quality Education, as open education can democratize and increase access to education and knowledge (UNESCO, 2019). 


“Openness its key attribute is about ­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, 2014)


Openness comes in many forms and encompasses several interrelated practices, terms and approaches in the higher education context (Costello, Huijser & Marshall, 2019). These include open educational resources underpinned by creative commons licensing and open teaching and learning practices. This guide will outline the what, how, and why of each of these open education concepts.