Skip navigation
Hardcover | ISBN: 9780262033718 | 504 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 14 figures| September 2008
Paperback | $19.95 Trade | £13.95 | ISBN: 9780262515016 | 504 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 14 figures| September 2010

Opening Up Education

The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge
Foreword by John Seely Brown


Given the abundance of open education initiatives that aim to make educational assets freely available online, the time seems ripe to explore the potential of open education to transform the economics and ecology of education. Despite the diversity of tools and resources already available--from well-packaged course materials to simple games, for students, self-learners, faculty, and educational institutions--we have yet to take full advantage of shared knowledge about how these are being used, what local innovations are emerging, and how to learn from and build on the experiences of others. Opening Up Education argues that we must develop not only the technical capability but also the intellectual capacity for transforming tacit pedagogical knowledge into commonly usable and visible knowledge: by providing incentives for faculty to use (and contribute to) open education goods, and by looking beyond institutional boundaries to connect a variety of settings and open source entrepreneurs.

These essays by leaders in open education describe successes, challenges, and opportunies they have found in a range of open education initiatives. They approach--from both macro and micro perspectives--the central question of how open education tools, resources, and knowledge can improve the quality of education. The contributors (from leading foundations, academic institutions, associations, and projects) discuss the strategic underpinnings of their efforts first in terms of technology, then content, and finally knowledge. They also address the impact of their projects, and how close they come to achieving a vision of sustainable, transformative educational opportunities that amounts to much more than pervasive technology.

Through the support of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an electronic version of this book is openly available under a Creative Commons license at The MIT Press Web site,

Contributors: Richard Baraniuk, Randy Bass, Trent Batson, Dan Bernstein, John Seely Brown, Barbara Cambridge, Tom Carey, Catherine Casserly, Bernadine Chuck Fong, Ira Fuchs, Richard Gale, Mia Garlick, Gerard Hanley, Diane Harley, Mary Huber, Pat Hutchings, Toru Iiyoshi, David Kahle, M. S. Vijay Kumar, Andy Lane, Diana Laurillard, Stuart Lee, Steve Lerman, Marilyn Lombardi, Phil Long, Clifford Lynch, Christopher Mackie, Anne Margulies, Owen McGrath, Flora McMartin, Shigeru Miyagawa, Diana Oblinger, Neeru Paharia, Cheryl Richardson, Marshall Smith, Candace Thille, Edward Walker, David Wiley

About the Editor

Toru Iiyoshi is Senior Scholar and Director of the Knowledge Media Lab at the Carnegie Foundation.


“For anyone interested in the openness movement or in changes to the educational system, Opening Up Education is worth perusing. The book is freely available online with links to individual chapters, making it easy to cite and share.”—Jean-Claude Bradley, Nature


“This important volume brings together the thoughts of many educators, technologists, philanthropists, and legal scholars who are among the leaders of the Openness movement in education. Reading it is essential for anyone who believes that education is an important, empowering, and democratizing force in the modern world, and that substantial economic efficiencies could be garnered by sharing educational content and scholarly materials at minimal cost through the World Wide Web.”
Charles Vest, President Emeritus, MIT
“This book is probably the most comprehensive collection of writings to date on the open education movement. It paints a picture of numerous experiments and roads started upon in an arena that is still in its infancy but which offers many major possibilities for transformation of education. Where these roads lead and which are most fertile are still unanswerable questions. But there is no better starting point than this book.”
C. Judson King, Director, Center for Studies in Higher Education,University of California, Berkeley
“This is a very welcome and timely publication.... Although it seems paradoxical, the opening up of education is a bold approach, and one that will challenge the status quo and destabilize educational models, institutions, those who make them work, and who work within them. However, creating a culture of learning ... is essential in emerging knowledge societies. The three sections of the book put forward much to consider,illuminate many issues and, in the end challenge the reader to consider thepossibility and the implications of open [education]. There is a wide rangeof voices from the community of those convinced that open is preferable toclosed.”
Susan D'Antoni, Director, Virtual Institute of the UNESCO InternationalInstitute for Educational Planning
“Whether we realize it or not, improving the cost and scale of quality education is the challenge that underlies all other challenges to the human race. The significance of this groundbreaking book is that it elucidates new business models and technologies that are needed to support educators worldwide in creating the breakthroughs needed.”
Robert Abel, CEO, IMS Global Learning Consortium
“This exceptionally engaging book interprets Open Educational Resources through references that range from King Lear to YouTube. By presenting the OER movement in all its glorious confusion and rich variety it compels the reader to help it grow from "robust early adolescence" to adulthood. It challenges the developing world to appropriate this most promising innovation for the purposes of mass formal education instead of letting it under-perform as merely a mechanism for the educated elite to facilitate informal learning by the less fortunate.”
Sir John Daniel, President & CEO, Commonwealth of Learning