Roadmap for the Future of Open Education in Australia

Sandra Wills
Charles Sturt University, Australia

Shirley Alexander
University of Technology Sydney, Australia

David Sadler
University of Tasmania, Australia


Australia has a long history in open education both as an early pioneer and in delivery at scale, successfully facilitating access to a university education for millions of students from diverse backgrounds that could not access traditional campus-based education. Looking back over the changing definitions, changing channels and changing purposes provides a landscape for consideration of new directions in Australian open education. Open has morphed through three phases: (a) free of location or time constraints; (b) free of pre-requisites; (c) free of cost.Australia currently lags the rest of the world in the third phase, fostering use of cost-free open educational resources and courses. This is an anachronism in the context of a higher education sector and an overall economy that has moved decisively into a digital plane. The previous two phases were supported and facilitated by government strategy and substantial funding. So far, the third phase has no vision or backing at the national level. Sir John Daniel, in a study for the Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO about national policies identified Australia as one of the countries without a national policy. Whilst the Australian government has put resources and support behind its aspiration to facilitate open access and reuse of Australia’s publicly funded research resources via the Australian Government’s Open Access and Licensing Framework (AUSGOAL) the reform process has not significantly moved to embrace educational resources.

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