The Limitations of Access Alone: moving towards open processes in education technology

Jeremy Knox


“Openness” has emerged as one of the foremost themes in education, within which an open education movement has enthusiastically embraced digital technologies as the central means of participation and inclusion. Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have surfaced at the forefront of this development, claiming unprecedented educational reform. This paper provides a critical perspective on these prominent initiatives, highlighting a tendency to view access to online material as the principal concern of the open education movement. It will analyse the portrayal of technology in academic literature and media coverage of OERs and MOOCs, suggesting underlying assumptions of technology instrumentalism and essentialism. Alternative perspectives will be offered, drawing on critical technology studies and the philosophy of technology. The inclusion of “open processes” is proposed, involving the active engagement of learners in participation and dialogue, as well as further critical explorations of the relationships between technology and education.


access; critical education technology; MOOC; OER; online education; open; open processes

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