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Open Education: A Study in Disruption

Open Education: A Study in Disruption
By Pauline van Mourik Broekman, Gary Hall, Ted Byfield, Shaun Hides and Simon Worthington

Open Education explores the disruption of the traditional university as a result of the increasingly widespread provision of free online open education.

Summary: What for decades could only be dreamt of is now almost within reach: the widespread provision of free online education, regardless of a student’s geographic location, financial status, or ability to access conventional institutions of learning. But does open education really offer the openness, democracy and cost-effectiveness its supporters promise? Or will it lead to a two-tier system, where those who can’t afford to pay to attend a traditional university, or belong to those groups who prefer not to move away from home, will have to make do with a poor, online, second-rate alternative education produced by a global corporation?

Open Education engages critically with the creative disruption of the university through free online education. It puts into political context not just the 2012 batch of extremely publicity-savvy MOOCS (Edx, Udacity, FutureLearn etc.), but also TED Talks and Wikiversity along with self-organised ‘pirate’ libraries such as and, and ‘free universities’ associated with the anti-austerity and student protests and the global Occupy movement. Questioning many of the ideas open education projects take for granted, including Creative Commons, it proposes a radically different model for the university and education in the twenty-first century.

Length: 111 pages

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