What is Open Education?
Open Education is a global movement working for universal access to education. In particular, the open education movement works to make educational resources more accessible and more affordable.
Around the world, institutions are increasingly freely sharing their resources — from lectures to textbooks — under an open licence, meaning that anyone in the world can access, download and adapt their resources, freely and legally.
Creative Commons and Open Educational Resources
Creative Commons believes that educational resources should be made freely available under an open licence, to enable anyone in the world to access and build upon the work. This includes resources produced or funded by the Ministry of Education, as well as resources produced by educators working in New Zealand’s public education system.
Many teachers, including teachers working in universities, spend much of their time creating resources that have already been created elsewhere in the education system. By sharing resources openly, teachers can spend their time adapting the best resources in the world, without having to reinvent the wheel.
Students, too, can save an enormous amount of money by using free, open textbooks that they can access, download and reuse without infringing copyright. According to the US Census Bureau, textbook prices in the US rose 812% between 1978 and 2012, more than three times the rate of inflation. As a result, many public funding bodies are insisting that taxpayer funded textbooks be made available under a Creative Commons licence, to ensure that educational resources are available and affordable for everyone.
Open Education in New Zealand
New Zealand is a world leader in the open education movement. From primary schools like Warrington School to tertiary institutions like Lincoln and Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand educators are increasingly releasing their high-quality works to the world, freely and openly, for others to share and reuse. Many New Zealand tertiary institutions are also part of the Open Educational Resources universitas, an independent, not-for-profit network that offers free online courses for students worldwide.
As of March 2014, over forty New Zealand schools have also adopted Creative Commons policies. New Zealand academics are also leading the world in open textbook development, with a team at Otago University successfully managing the production of a Creative Commons Media Studies Textbook.
The New Zealand Government Supports OER
The release of open educational resources by the New Zealand state education sector is supported by the New Zealand Government. Cabinet has encouraged both tertiary and pre-tertiary organisations to use the New Zealand Government’s Open Access and Licensing framework when releasing their copyright works (NZGOAL). NZGOAL advocates for the use of Creative Commons licensing. You can read more about NZGOAL at our Open Government page.
NZ Case Studies
International OER Projects
- Stay in touch with open education updates from Creative Commons International
- The Capetown Declaration on open education
- The World Bank’s Policy on open access
- UNESCO’s Paris Declaration on OER
If you are keen to get involved, we recommend that you join one of the local and international communities.
- OERu discussion list
- Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand discussion list
- International Open Knowledge Foundation
If your organisation is passing an open policy, please let us know, and we can write a case study to help spread the word.