This presentation proposes a formalized characterization of open education projects based on the idea of openness. Some of the main points are as follows: open education is, and should not be, limited to the opening of education to learners, such as providing gratis and distant (time-flexible) learning and credentialing opportunities. It includes opening up the opportunity to educate, and blur the boundaries between the educator and learner.
In general, exploration of the potential of educational use ICT may lead to a more effective and efficient society in terms of teaching, learning, assessing, signaling of competence, and so forth. More open approach to these activities may lead to improvements given that the coordination and transaction cost for these activities decreased due to ICT adoption, and there are untapped resources to be mobilized for these activities. The blurring of the boundaries between service provider and recipients is common to many open-content and open-resource projects, and while it does not necessarily represent an improvement, there is a good chance that equilibrium change to a more open point, involving greater number and more diverse entities for the same activity.
Examined with this perspective, OER is a type of project that opens up not only learning opportunities, but also opportunities to participate into education. It lowers the barriers for learners to play an active part of educating, such as through rating, curating, or revising of existing OER, peer-to-peer teaching in learning communities. So-called xMOOCs, in contrast, is a type of open education that deepens the divide between the learner and educator, a massive scale delivery of finely crafted program. The open credentialing of competency, as in Mozilla Open Badge Initiative, is another project that opens up not just the learning opportunities, but also those of participating into credentialing.