Open Education and the Hidden Tariff

Macintyre, Ronald (2016). Open Education and the Hidden Tariff. In: OEGlobal 2016: Convergence through Collaboration, 12-14 Apr 2016, Krakow, Poland.



This paper explores the promise of that Open Educational Resources (OER) would democratise access to education and ennui of many within the movement as the revolution is always just around the corner. It develops from earlier work which asked whether OER is a challenge to, or a product of, neoliberalism within education, which questioned the reification of the self in OER and the focus on particular types of content which seemed to create open education in the image of the academy. The paper uses the idea of digital labour to explore digital inclusion, who does digital labour, who has the skills to perform digital labour and who and how do people benefit from digital labour. It suggests seeing education as an exchange of labour and reward makes visible the hidden aspects of work, in particular it highlights the skills required to do education as digital labour and the unequal access and distribution of those skills contributes to unequal access to education, even when it is freely available and openly licensed online. Uncovering the hidden tariff within OER allows us to see where and how might address these inequities. In particular how we can learn from older traditions of open education which see it as a common good. Developing models of Open Educational Practice (OEP) to overcome the visible and hidden barriers and realise the benefits of open education.

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