Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Open Design Movement?

According to Wikipedia, the open-design movement involves the development of physical products, machines and systems through use of publicly shared design information. This includes the making of both free and open-source software as well as open-source hardware. The process is generally facilitated by the Internet and often performed without monetary compensation. The goals and philosophy of the movement are identical to that of the open-source movement, but are implemented for the development of physical products rather than software. Open design is a form of co-creation, where the final product is designed by the users, rather than an external stakeholder such as a private company.

Why Open Design?

Because we want products that, as open systems, anyone can study, modify, distribute, make and prototype. The product’s source, the design documentation from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Open Design should always be considered in its political dimension, because transparency, collaboration and release of resources are strategies that do not fully guarantee the balance and social justice by themselves. Furthermore, by making open design projects we will uncover their political dimension by making everybody aware of the impact on the social, cultural, economic, and environmental dimension of everybody’s life.

What is Open Education?

Open education is an educational movement founded on openness, with connections to other educational movements such as critical pedagogy, and with an educational stance which favours widening participation and inclusiveness in society. Open education broadens access to the learning and training traditionally offered through formal education systems and is typically (but not necessarily) offered through online and distance education. The qualifier “open” refers to the elimination of barriers that can preclude both opportunities and recognition for participation in institution-based learning. One aspect of openness or “opening up” education is the development and adoption of open educational resources in support of open educational practices.

An example of an institutional practice in line with open education would be decreasing barriers to entry, for example, eliminating academic admission requirements. Universities which follow such practices include the Open University in Britain, Athabasca University and Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning in Canada and the Open University of Catalonia, in Spain, among many others (see full list here). Massive open online courses (MOOC) and OpenCourseWare are among the most recent and visible approaches to open education, adopted by universities worldwide. Although many MOOC’s have free enrolment, the costs of acquiring a certification may be a barrier. Many open education institutes offer free certification schemes accredited by organizations like UKAS in the UK and ANAB in the United States; others offer a badge.

What is Open Manufacturing?

Open manufacturing, also known as open production, maker manufacturing, and with the slogan “Design Global, Manufacture Local” is a new model of socioeconomic production in which physical objects are produced in an open, collaborative and distributed manner and based on open design and open source principles.

Open manufacturing combines the following elements of a production process: new open production tools and methods (such as 3D printers), new value-based movements (such as the maker movement), new institutions and networks for manufacturing and production (such as FabLabs), and open source methods, software and protocols.

Open manufacturing may also include digital modeling and fabrication and computer numeric control (CNC) of the machines used for production through open source software and open source hardware.
The philosophy of open manufacturing is close to the open-source movement, but aims at the development of physical products rather than software. The term is linked to the notion of democratizing technology as embodied in the maker culture, the DIY ethic, the open source appropriate technology movement, the Fablab-network and other rooms for grassroot innovation such as hackerspaces.

What is DIY?

Do it yourself (“DIY“) is the method of building, modifying, or repairing things by oneself without the direct aid of professionals or certified experts. Academic research has described DIY as behaviors where “individuals use raw and semi-raw materials and parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions, including those drawn from the natural environment (e.g., landscaping)”. DIY behavior can be triggered by various motivations previously categorized as marketplace motivations (economic benefits, lack of product availability, lack of product quality, need for customization), and identity enhancement (craftsmanship, empowerment, community seeking, uniqueness).

DIY has been described as a “self-made-culture”; one of designing, creating, customizing and repairing items or things without any special training. DIY has grown to become a social concept with people sharing ideas, designs, techniques, methods and finished projects with one another either online or in person.

DIY can be seen as a cultural reaction in modern technological society to increasing academic specialization and economic specialization which brings people into contact with only a tiny focus area within the larger context, positioning DIY as a venue for holistic engagement. DIY ethic is the ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert. The DIY ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists.

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others.