Open Education is about removing unnecessary barriers to learning while providing students with a reasonable chance of success. Barriers to learning may differ between people, countries and cultures. 'Openness' is not only related to financial aspects, but it is also about open accessibility, open licensing policy, freedom of place, pace and time of study, open entry and open pedagogy.
EADTUs' vision in open(-ing up) education is to reach out to all those learners who wish to take part in higher education in a way that meets their needs and accommodates their situation. We recognise that openness is related to context and stimulate different approaches to remove barriers. Openness is not simply a matter of barriers to access related to licences or technological aspects, but are inherent cultural, social and institutional. Widening participation, for example requires a shift that accounts for people, places and the practices of open education.
In 2008, the International Council on Open and Distance Education (ICDE) already emphasized the possible 'golden combination' of open, flexible and distance learning with OER (Open Educational Resources) for developed economies and especially for developing countries. This combined power of the 'classical' open universities model and the 'new emerging openness' was elaborated in the 2011 EADTU conference. And it has led to a better understanding of what Open Education is about and what it could offer to learners and societies. To further enhance the uptake op Open Education in Europe the European Commission launched the initiative Opening Up Education in September 2013.
Openness is also seen as an important business driver, enhancing the circulation of knowledge and increasing the pace of innovation. Open access in scientific output is just a start, open education is seen as the next essential step. We position OER and MOOCs as part of open education and as such they must be connected to the many open development movements. Overall, there is increasing recognition that education is being transformed and that open education plays a significant role in this transformation.