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The Open Universities

Innovation in International Higher Education: :
The Open Universities

One of the most striking international developments in higher education in the past decade has been the establishment of a significant number of open universities around the world. This paper summarizes the nature of the open university movement and goes on to discuss the open universities as a case of innovation in international higher education. The paper argues that the very nature of the open learning enterprise has forced the universities associated with it to be innovative in ways and to an extent rarely realized in conventional universities. This innovation is described under the categories of organization and administration, and curriculum and instruction. The paper uses the case study literature associated with the open universities to draw examples of innovations intended but not realized, “actual” innovations, and unintended innovations. The paper concludes with some examples of potential innovations in open universities which could be of some significance in the future. [Abstract, Creative Commons]

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