What is Open? In today’s contemporary vision, Open most often refers to the idea of sharing freely available content, and by extension, the open or collective production of that content, and the open systems used to produce or share that content (but not always). Phrases like Open Courseware (or MOOCs – massively open online courses), Open Access, Open Educational Resources (OERs), Open Source, Open Publishing and Open Learning are often used (sometimes interchangeably).

Perhaps the origins of Open emerges out of the idea of the public domain, a social idea (or ideal?) that dates back to English and colonial America, if not further (Roman?). It is not the intent of the Open.UToronto hub to engage in a scholarly exploration of Open, but if you are interested in the history of the subject, we recommend Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain as a starting point.

Most of the contemporary Open movements have their origins in the late 1990s. For more on each of them, please see the following Wikipedia entries:

Open Educational Resources (OERs)Open CoursewareMOOCs
Open AccessOpen SourceOpen Data
Open PublishingOpen TextbookParticipatory JournalismCrowdsourcing

Read More About Open:
The Phenomenon of Openness