The phrase “knowledge is power” is one we are familiar with. We as a society believe this to be true, as demonstrated through the rising costs of higher education, lack of accessible learning materials like textbooks, tutors, and even classes. Because knowledge is power, we have monopolized and monetized almost every aspect of learning.
Now, as we navigate through the pandemic and are adjusting to a new normal, the need for a truly open education system has never been more important. Before the pandemic, students who didn’t have access to textbooks could check them out of the student library, but now the necessary tools for a classroom include a new MacBook, Wi-Fi connection, and a comfortable and safe environment to learn –a steep price to pay, especially if you can’t afford it. Sixty-five percent of students skipped buying required textbooks during the pandemic, despite concerns for their grades, and those who still want to do the reading are forced to get creative, by even scanning individual pages in the student library.
Because we are more separated than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted the system into a new way of learning, and open education is crucial for creating a global marketplace of users who are looking to share and receive knowledge to further their own education and understanding. Our students and educators are more distanced than ever, making it even harder to share ideas and hold lively debates.
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