Openness to learners
As stated earlier, Massive Open Online Courses should be designed as open as possible, in such a way that all unnecessary barriers to learning are removed, both at the entry into learning and along the learning path. We distinguish the following dimensions:
Free of charge: you have a full course experience free-of-charge. For additional services, like personal tutoring or doing a formal exam for obtaining a ECTS certificate, there will be some cost involved.
Free admittance: we apply an open entry policy. I.e. anyone can basically participate regardless of prior education; you don’t need diplomas to participate in a course. However, that doesn’t imply that MOOCs are only offered at novice level.
All MOOCs require some basic skills of ict and language skills by definition. And there are courses that require extensive prior knowledge and skills. But these knowledge and skills are not tested beforehand, nor are any formal qualification needed to enter the course.
Open Accessibility: course can always be accessed by anyone anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.
Learn anywhere online: we apply the freedom of place: you can study at home, at work, at a library, virtual classroom, on a train or a plane, abroad, on a boat etc.
Start anytime: you can begin a course at any point during the year and study at any time.
Self-paced: you can basically determine your own pace and schedule.
We emphasise that self-paced MOOCs will need to be finished with some kind of recognition and consequently have an end date (set by you as learner).
OpenupEd cherishes diversity in languages and cultures, a spectrum of approaches and contexts, accounting for variety and profiling. We see diversity as one of the key advantages of new learning technologies. We are open to all people : the population is very varied, comprises all ages and has a wide range of contexts.
Open programming: the programmes involve certain freedoms as regards their content and order; you can take and if necessary combine modules/courses as you wish; there are partial programmes and complete open programmes
A 100% score on all dimensions is very rare. Most of them, however, do apply to the OpenupEd courses. Exceptions are the freedom of time and the freedom of pace for those courses that have a fixed starting date and a set schedule.
In a broader perspective this feature stresses the importance to be open to learners' needs. I.e. education should be affordable, rewarding, good quality, feasible, enjoyable, but also with freedom of time / pace / place, open entry, open programming, credentialing, bridge between formal and informal learning, lifelong learning, ....