Introduction to Openness
“Openness is a controversial topic. Even people who agree on its desirability can disagree over what openness really means and how best to achieve it” (Mackie, 2008).
How can such a seemingly simple word like “open” be so difficult to define and understand? If open were a binary concept, either on or off, it could be defined in simple, dichotomous terms. However, the construct of openness is on a continuum, and therefore becomes a more complex idea with varying degrees of meaning (Hilton et al, 2010). For example, a door is not just open or closed, but has a range of openness. This same concept of openness can also be applied to openness in education. It is generally perceived that open in education means that education is available at no cost. However, in education this continuum of openness also holds true, and applies not only cost to, but also to all facets of what has evolved into the open education movement.