ABSTRACT

Introduction “Openness” is a central contested value of modern liberalism that falls under different political, epistemological and ethical descriptions. In this chapter, we employ “openness” to analyze the spatialization of learning and education. We discuss dimensions of openness and “open education” (Peters & Britez, 2008), beginning with a brief history of openness in education that focuses on the concept of the Open University as it first developed in the United Kingdom during the 1960s, a development we dub Open University 1.0. We then consider the concept of openness in the light of the new “technologies of openness” of Web 2.0 that promote interactivity and encourage participation, collaboration and help to establish new forms of the intellectual commons, a space for knowledge sharing and collective work. The intellectual commons is increasingly based on models of open source, open access, open archives, open journal systems and open education. We call this model Open University 2.0. Where the former is based on the logic of centralized industrial media characterized by a broadcast one-tomany mode, the latter is based upon a radically decentralized, many-to-many and peer production mode of interactivity. To exemplify the progress and possibilities of Open University 2.0, we focus on Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) OpenCourseWare and Harvard’s Open Access initiative to publicly post its faculty’s papers online. Finally, we look forward to the possibilities of a form of openness that combines the benefits of these first two forms, what we call Open University 3.0, and consider its possibilities for universities in the future. By doing so, we see this chapter as a means to investigate the political economy of openness as it reconfigures universities in the knowledge economy of the twenty-first century and at the same time to suggest a socialized model of the knowledge economy that competes with neoliberal versions.