Connect academic understanding with lay understanding embracing open research and open education

Whilst the Boundaries Observatory is not exclusively focused on education, the education sphere provides the initial source of data and focus of study as well as “education”, understood as the facilitation of interpretation, discussion and understanding. To do this, the aim is to exploit the technologies of open education. The barriers between high level academic research and lay understanding have undergone significant shifts in recent years. Not least, the rise of open educational courses, video-based content, simulation software and visual analytics have all seen changes in the ways in which people can teach themselves with available information. Currently, open educational platforms and open research platforms are distinct entities with no connection between them. Furthermore, open research platforms like MyExperiment are largely focused on data from the physical and biological sciences.

The Boundaries Observatory will extend the use of open research platforms to the social sciences. In so doing, it will incorporate aspects of open educational platforms as well, since The Boundaries Observatory mission requires the embrace of accessibility of its learning resources. Furthermore, since every participant in the observatory is also a contributor of data and theories, the work will help to break down barriers between formal academic work and non-academic work.