Cosmas Maphosa, Sithulisiwe Bhebhe


Scholars in Open Distance Learning (ODL) often refer to distance education as ‘open’. The concept 'openness' on open and distance learning is very fluid and often misunderstood. It is the purpose of this desktop survey to review relevant literature and make interrogation of the concept 'openness'. We advance questions such as; How open is open and distance learning. In what aspects is ODL open and to what extent is the openness. We discuss openness concerning targeted potential students and entry requirements in ODL institutions, the openness of teaching, and learning approaches as well as openness concerning communication, the flexibility of curricula, and assessment. We conclude by answering whether or not ODL institutions are open as well as suggesting measures and ways of enhancing openness in ODL institutions.


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open learning, distance education, curriculum flexibility, learning, distance learners, open education

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