Open learning can mean many things to many people. It can mean learning that takes advantage of Creative Commons-licensed open educational resources or OER (of the major MOOC platforms, EDx is open-source, but none have open content). It can mean learning that is self-organized, experimental, peer-to-peer, DIY, badged or otherwise nontraditionally accredited. It takes place where theory meets practice, in communities of practice, in bar camps, hackathons, hacker spaces, Maker Faires, chat rooms, virtual worlds, archaeological digs, libraries, on Twitter, on Vine, on Instructables, on Vimeo, at the after-afterparty to the conference, at the Occupy encampment, in abandoned churches in Pittsburgh, coworking spaces in Nairobi or the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
But what are the best examples?
Here’s some of the explanation from the contest site:
The open learning innovation contest invites innovators whose work embodies the principles of connected learning to submit their stories and experiences for consideration. They might be running online or offline courses, activities, learning programs, study groups, or hybrid classes or out-of-school (extra-institutional) activities having to do with independent learning and volunteer work.
The contest focuses on independent learners and those who work with them mostly at the postsecondary level (though this doesn’t rule out those who work with people under 20). We’ll be seeking to highlight projects that:
* Align with connected learning principles.
* Make use of open-access and open-license technologies and business models.
* Involve students as leaders and partners in innovative learning: learner-created courses, majors, and special projects.
* Incorporate digital resources and practices in novel ways.
* Present an example to inspire others.
* Place a special emphasis on people underserved in some way by traditional higher education.
* Are works in progress, adapting to the emergent practices of learners as they go.