The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change.
— Maya Angelou (1993)
While it is undeniable that open education initiatives have improved education by lowering financial barriers for students and increasing access to learning materials, their true impact and effectiveness can only be fully realized when they are integrated into a larger ecosystem that values openness, collaboration, and learner-centered approaches.
Open education needs not be a niche subset of education, or even limited only to the post-secondary level. Open education, along with open educational practices and open pedagogy, have the potential to play a pivotal role in equitable access to education. As Matt Voigts notes, “OER are becoming increasingly important in the education sector. They have proven their benefits by providing democratic and equitable access to knowledge, supporting lifelong learning and informal learning and offering diversified sources of knowledge.” (UNESCO, 2022)
The horizon is always in relation to a fixed viewpoint, so it’s going to keep moving as that perspective or that viewpoint changes. So for us, as researchers or educators working in this field trying to document OER impact, it’s not just about fixating on one horizon point and saying “we’ve reached this destination.” We need to keep moving forward, adjusting our goals, and consider how much more change, growth, and value we can continue to add through our work. In that sense, we constantly endeavor to aim beyond that horizon.