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Learning in an Open World

Learning in the Open World is interested in the interpretations of openness in education, including open educational resources (OER), open educational practice (OEP), MOOCs, open access & open scholarship. There is a particular focus on impact research. What constitutes openness in a disciplinary, geographical, political, technological or cultural sense can vary. In the modern, digital, networked form it is typically characterised by some combination of the following:

  • use of open licenses that permit reuse (such as Creative Commons);
  • sharing ideas and resources by default;
  • distributed contribution from a diverse network;
  • novel application of openly available technologies;
  • reallocation of resources to production and away from purchasing;
  • working across existing boundaries.

Much of the work in this area is conducted by the award winning OER Hub team, which is the leading global OER research unit.

Current projects include:

  • Open Educational Practice Scotland - a Scottish Funding Council project which aims to build capacity and promote open education across Scotland.
  • GO-GN - The aim of the Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN) is to both raise the profile of OER research, and offer support for those conducting their doctoral studies in this area.
  • BizMOOC - an Erasmus+ funded project looking at the development of MOOCs for business.
  • OER World Map - an infrastructure development project which collects and visualizes information about actors, activities and resources from the field of OER
  • Engaging Research in the Digital University: a civil society perspective - examining the potential of open research resources to enhance engagement from the perspective of practitioners in Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the UK’s International Development sector
  • ExplOERer - promotes OER sustainability through OER adoption and re-use in professional practice.

Completed projects include:

Recent publications

Farrow, R. (2016). A Framework for the Ethics of Open Education. Open Praxis, 8(2). 

Perryman, L.-A. & de los Arcos, B. (2016). Women’s empowerment through openness: OER, OEP and the Sustainable Development Goals. Open Praxis, 8(2).

de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Pitt, R., Weller, M. & McAndrew, P. (2016). Personalising learning through adaptation: Evidence from a global survey of K-12 teachers’ perceptions of their use of open educational resources. Journal of Online Learning Research, 2(1), 23-40. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Farrow, R., de los Arcos, B., Pitt, R., & Weller, M. (2015). Who are the Open Learners? A Comparative Study Profiling non-Formal Users of Open Educational Resources. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-learning, 18(2).

Farrow, R. (2015). Open education and critical pedagogy. Learning, Media and Technology. DOI:10.1080/17439884.2016.1113991

Weller, M., de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Pitt, B., & McAndrew, P. (2015). The Impact of OER on Teaching and Learning Practice. Open Praxis, 7(4), 351-361. doi:10.5944/openpraxis.7.4.227

Pitt, R. Mainstreaming Open Textbooks: Educator Perspectives on the Impact of OpenStax College open textbooks (2015) The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) 16 (4): 133-155

Weller, M. 2014. Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI:

Open Research Online lists IET OER publications.

Research Team

Martin Weller - (Director of LIOW theme)

Bea de los Arcos

Tim Coughlan

Rob Farrow

Jude Fransman

Patrick McAndrew

Beck Pitt

Leigh-Anne Perryman