16 de enero de 2016



Luisa Aires


This article arises from the discussions carried out within the Observatory for Quality on Distance Education and e-Learning at Universidade Aberta (Portugal) and also from the participation in a brief program about "Massive Open Online Courses: Principles and Practices". This theoretical article aims to contribute to a conceptual description about online distance education territories. In this paper we explore different perspectives about e-Learning, Online Education and Virtual Open Education. Firstly, we address a diversity of perspectives about e-Learning and then we recommend a meaning to this construct. Secondly, we analyze different perspectives about Online Education. Thirdly, we propose some referents to describe Open Education in digital society and its most relevant current movements, such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). In what concerns to OER, it should be noted that the matrix of this movement goes beyond the access to the contents and the resources; at the contrary, it is linked to a new educational philosophy, new values founded on openness, ethics of participation and collaboration (Peters, 2008). As a part of the analysis about MOOCs, we highlight a new learning ecology, as well as we enhance the importance of reconceptualizing traditional concepts, such as enrollment, participation, attendance, students’ achievement, according to DeBoer, Ho, Stump e Breslow (2014). Finally, we reiterate the diversity of perspectives on Learning, Online Education and Open Education and we suggest that the research in Distance Education should be a central referent for the decrease of the currently existing entropy in face-to-face higher education institutions, in the appropriation process of key concepts of Online Distance Education.


E-learning; online education; online distance education; OER; MOOC.

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