OpenFiction [ Blog ]

May 15, 2008

I find myself remiss…

Filed under: , , , — Stephen Carson @ 8:48 am

…in failing to note sooner the recent launch of the Open.Michigan site and the sample of courses on the Open.Michigan OCW site. The Open.Michigan site draws together the full range of open initiatives at Michigan, which is quite impressive, and the Open.Michigan OCW site provides a first look at what promises to grow into a very large-scale OCW in the years to come. Congratulations to the team there—I know this is the result of much behind-the-scenes labor and its great to see it coming to fruition.

April 17, 2008

Stanford considers OER

Filed under: , , — Stephen Carson @ 12:38 pm

The Stanford Daily is reporting on the discussions underway on campus about a possible open educational resources project there. The deliberations include faculty, students and administration. From the article:

Stanford currently offers a little over a dozen full-length audio courses for free download through “iTunes U,” a branch of Apple’s popular downloading service that hosts digital content from colleges and universities. A Stanford YouTube channel distributing select video content will launch in the coming months.

While these offerings are limited, the University has convened a task force, the Stanford Open Education Initiative (SOEI), to explore the possibility of significantly expanding content and accessibility in the near future.

“[SOEI has been] researching the range of options,” said Scott Stocker, director of Stanford Web Communications, including “joining the OpenCourseWare Consortium, building a site similar to the Yale Open Courses site, or attempting to create a unique Stanford offering.”

Very exciting stuff!

April 15, 2008

Another best-of

Filed under: , , — Stephen Carson @ 8:30 am

Here’s another listing of top resources by discipline that have been appearing of late–this one on math. I point to it not because MIT is in the top spot, but more remarkably because seven of the ten by my count are OCW Consortium members–plus CMU, which is a fellow Hewlett grantee. Really very nice to see so many unique contributions and illustrates that OER are not one-size-fits-all.

April 4, 2008

Capilano College OCW

Filed under: , — Stephen Carson @ 10:47 am

Congratulations to the team at Capilano College on becoming the first Canadian institution to launch an OCW. Their initial offerings have really great breadth. John Wilson at Capilano has also been tireless in helping the OCW Consortium transition to an independent entity. Capilano’s courses are a great addition to the growing global body of open educational content!

February 27, 2008

USA Today on OCW

Filed under: , , , , — Stephen Carson @ 8:00 am

Here’s a really nice article that really captures the US OCW movement. It’s great to see UOCWA getting some national props.

This bit I like. It’s something the writer researched on his own, and illustrates the importance of multiple types of media in OCW presentation:

Not everyone prefers multimedia platforms. In Indonesia, limited bandwidth means it’s easier to download static files than to deal with streaming video or audio. Because many materials from MIT and USU don’t require multimedia platforms, teachers across Indonesia are able to access them and benefit, even though they’re not studying for credit. “Learning materials and process are more important here than just a degree,” says Ferry Haris, a computer programmer for the Indonesian government. “Especially when books are very costly for most of us here.”

February 1, 2008

UNU OpenCourseWare

Filed under: , — Stephen Carson @ 8:57 am

I’ll never get tired of seeing new OpenCourseWares come on line. Every new OCW brings excitement at the possibilities for how the movement can help to improve our world. United Nations University’s recently launched OpenCourseWare strikes this chord particularly powerfully. A sample of some of the courses:

PhD Course UNU-MERIT 2.1 - Environment and Sustainable Development, Spring 2007

UNU-INWEH Course 1 - Training Course on Mangroves and Biodiversity
UNU-IIST Course 3 - Structures and Processes for Implementing and Operating e-Governance

More sustainable development, better environmental stewardship, better governance. These courses are tools that can truly make a difference. Congrats to the team at UNU!

January 25, 2008

Bill Gates on OpenCourseWare

Filed under: , , — Stephen Carson @ 9:15 am

Forbes magazine is carrying a commentary piece by Bill Gates on the educational challanges we face in the 21st century, which mentions MIT OpenCourseWare very prominently:

…technology can provide many of the tools needed to begin to tackle the challenge of scale. The combination of software, broadband networks and powerful, affordable devices is making it possible to put high-quality educational resources into the hands of any teacher or student who has access to basic technology infrastructure and tools. The unique ability of technology to enable today’s limited educational resources to scale quickly and affordably across great distances to a great many people makes it an essential ingredient in our efforts to transform education.

MIT’s OpenCourseware Initiative is an exciting example of how technology can help make great educational materials scale. Through the OpenCourseware Web site, lecture notes, exams and other resources for more than 1,800 MIT classes are available online for free. Developed by professors at one of the world’s great universities, these materials used to be available to only a small handful of students. Now, anyone, anywhere in the world, can access them, and on average more than 1 million people visit the site every month…

It’s of course wonderful to have someone so respected in both the business and philanthropic communities providing visibility to the project. His comments don’t capture the full energy of the OpenCourseWare/Open Educational Resources movement, but hopefully attention drawn to us will drive attention to all the other great projects as well. I also like that he points out that technology can enable educational change, but is not sufficient:

Of course, technology by itself is not the answer to all the issues we face in our efforts to live up to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are significant social, cultural and institutional challenges that must be overcome as well. Technology must be implemented as part of a thoughtful, holistic approach to education transformation that includes teacher training, relevant curricula, parental involvement and programs for children that fill unmet needs for basics like nutrition and health care.

One of the things I enjoy most about my work is the exposure on a daily basis to amazing people from all walks of life devoting their talents and energies to addressing all of these challenges. It’s something that allows me to maintain a level of optimism about our future.

January 17, 2008

Michigan OCW

Filed under: , , — Stephen Carson @ 10:50 am

There’s a nice article in the Michigan Daily on the OCW that’s been in the works there for a while. I’ve heard Joseph Hardin talk about their planned approach a couple of times. Their essentially attempting to make OCW production a part of the student experience, which is the only approach I’ve yet seen proposed that I think has a chance of scaling campus-wide and dramatically reducing costs.

It is a longer row to hoe in terms of changing university culture. The virtue of the large centralized organization we have is that we didn’t have to ask faculty or students to change what they were doing at all. We simply had to ask them to hand over the materials from the course. The down side is of course cost. Most of the cost-reduction measures we’ve discussed–such as having faculty enter materials into a common LMS and tag them for later OCW publication–require fairly significant changes in faculty practice, changes I estimate will occur at the pace of retirement if at all.

Hardin’s proposal, having students act as what he calls “dScribes,” collecting and publishing content for credit rather than pay, cuts out many of the fixed costs and asks the University to adjust to a new form of student engagement/participation in the teaching and learning process, one that I can see could have significant educational value for the students (especially if they plan at some point to teach), but doesn’t ask faculty to change behavior too much. Again, an indication that it might have a chance to succeed. Michigan is definitely on my list of projects to watch in the coming year or two.

January 1, 2008

Another great OCW article

Filed under: , , — Stephen Carson @ 1:18 pm

in the Washington Post this time. Really an extraordinary run of attention to OCW, and great to see. Susan Kinzie’s piece is really great. It would have been great to have the Consortium URL in there, but I’m glad she gave mention to the group, and the mention of Highlights is great as well.

December 30, 2007

AP article on OCW

Filed under: , , , — Stephen Carson @ 8:56 am

The Associated Press just released this article by Justin Pope. I know Justin had been working on it for some time, and it’s a really great article. So far Google News has it being picked up by 165 news outlets–and counting!


Interestingly, the quote Justin selected from our discussions explains exactly my point in my previous post, using the same example (though not directly mentioning JHSPH).

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