Open Educational Resources: an Opportunity for Democratic Education?

Giuseppe Ritella

Abstract


In this article, I argue that Open Educational Resources (OERs) cancreate opportunities for democratic education by emphasizing collaborative construction, re-vision and updating of knowledge content. This may allow people belonging to different communities and social groups to take collective responsibility for the creation and maintenance of public knowledge content to be used for educational purposes. Such potential is only partially exploited if the practices of reuse favour consumption in place of co-construction. Moreover, although primarily intended for formal education, the potential or OERs is best expressed in hybrid practices where formal and non-formal contexts are not intended as mutually exclusive. A participatory and hybrid framework for the re-use of OERs in the long term might create the conditions of a more democratic management of knowledge in the larger society. However, to fully exploit the potential of OERs there is a need to develop policies and practices able to address a number of challenges raised by the hybrid, participatory, and technology-enabled co-creation, re-use and re-mix of public knowledge.


Keywords


OER; knowledge building; participatory approaches.

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