University of the Commons is an online education platform that advocates for academic freedom and open education. We aim at providing a free space for scholars-at-risk to teach their classes regardless of where they are and help them offer their content to a broader learning community. We maintain that academic freedom and open education are mutually supporting principles and their joint implementations call for innovative practices. While Open Educational Resources (OERs) such as massive open online course platforms enable academics to freely pursue teaching and research that is otherwise often constrained by traditional institutional frameworks and political pressures, academics with untethered autonomy can also contribute to the causes of open education.

University of the Commons views its efforts to contribute to the open education movement from an unique angle. Open education organizations mainly focus on the access of the students to educational material. We, on the other hand, while adopting the principles of open education on the creation and distribution of OERs, hone in on our efforts to mobilize open education resources to alleviate restraints over educators, particularly those who are at risk due to political repression. We mobilize geographical advantages provided by digital educational technologies to overcome the political and institutional restraints over academics and students.

In order to support scholars-at-risk, offer a fair wage for their work, manage the platform, and provide open educational resources including free courses, we employ a number of methods. We ask our users to contribute by donations and membership. We also partner with other institutions to create revenue for our free courses and support scholars-at-risk.