Open windows.jpg

In this introductory learning pathway, we commence our journey with a reflection on why open matters for learning in a digital age. We will consider the meaning of freedom to learn and the current state of access to published research knowledge in a digital world. The purpose of this learning pathway is to establish the context for open education, copyright and open licensing as it relates to learning in the 21st century.

Everyone has the right to education. … Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

—Article 26
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
United Nations

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights commits to free education, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. The notion of “free” education is not extended to the tertiary level, despite the fact that in a digital world the marginal cost of replicating digital content is near zero. In this learning pathway, we explore the possibilities of open online initiatives to widen access to tertiary education in more affordable ways.



On successful completion of this learning pathway, you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of sharing knowledge freely within the context of global demand for access to education.
  • Discuss the implications of why open matters for learning in a digital age.