In this post I will give a short overview of what I believe to be the definitions for the terms Open, Education and Resource in the context of this module.
In my readings I have come to understand that the term "open" has a lot of sides to it. For me, in my context, it boils down to two major aspects that influence the degree of openness; namely technical characteristics and social characteristics.
In the first instance, technical constraints such as inter-operability of networks, uncompatible formats of documents and unavailability of technical specifications will limit the degree of openness. I've found that in our South African context the state of our hardware availability (eg. computer access and slow bandwidth) also play a role in the openness of content. For example, slow bandwidth will prohibit a student from watching a video. For all intensive purposes the video will be posted by its creator to be open and freely available to everyone accross the globe, but due to technical constraints it will not be available to some who live in countries like ours.
In the second instance, social characteristics, refers to the limitations that society has placed on the content. There may be various copyright laws placed on reproduction of the content. As I learned from the video of David Wiley there are numerous variants of the constraints placed on "open" content as well. Ultimately for something to be classified as truly open it must also be free. These types of content or works, according to Hill and Möller, allow users the freedom to study the works and apply knowledge gained from it, redistribute copies (in whole or parts)and to make improvements and release the new copies.
The term Educational in OER is at this stage problematic for me. As argued in the readings, is only content generated in educational settings like schools and universities educational resources or is any content no matter its origin a educational resource if someone learns something from it? I am confident that I will have a better understanding of this as the course progress.
The term resource is less problematic at this stage. Any material that a person draws on for whatever reason can be classified as a resource. Therefore we can group photos, documents, videos, sound files, networks and the like together under the communal banner of resources.
I hope I made sense in this post and please comment if you disagree or have anything to add.
Have a lovely weekend!