Wednesday, November 28, 2007

OpenED Week 14: Comments

Yu-Chun mentions one change that I hope does happen in the future, "Due to the advent of technology and the emergence of the OER, there are more ways to achieve higher education. I imagine that people probably can get their degree through free materials besides entering to university the normal way. "

I, for one, am looking forward to having more ways to achieve higher education so that higher education will be able to cater to more students and fulfill their needs more accurately.

Catia says, "I think that there is a long way to go before there is fair awareness of the potentials of openness in education. There is even a longer way to go before the universities work with such openness withing their institutional structure. Can you imagine getting around the bureaucracy? I think that by 2012 educators who believe in open education will still be working a lot in order to spread the notion of open education and to untangle the misconceptions in the area - for higher education institutions as well as for k-12 systems."

I certainly agree with this. Higher education has been resistant to change in the past and will continue to be. Changing it could be compared to trying to change the velocity and direction of a train on tracks.

Rob also talks about the resistance to change in higher education but believes that they will eventually be forced to make a change, "With the lower-tier schools enabling and empowering their students, the research universities will have no choice but to adjust their practices to remain competitive. The top-tier schools will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the collaborative age and then will immediately turn around and congratulate themselves on their innovative practices (like how the cellphone companies fought against phone number portability, but now tout it as a great feature since they were forced to implement it)."

I laughed and laughed about the cell phone companies comment.

Catia also mentions that the Learner support organization is not plausible and she thinks that learning communities are more likely. My thought about this is that Learner Support seems to have many of the elements of learning communities except for one difference, it is for profit.

Karen has a good point, "Even if the “formal” OER community (higher ed courseware projects, Hewlett funded projects, etc.) implode under their own weight, there are a number of other open efforts that cannot be stopped. These include Wikipedia and all of its associated projects (Wikibooks, Wikiversity, etc.); other wikis such as Wikispaces, WikiEducator, etc.; user-generated content sites like YouTube, TeacherTube, MySpace, Facebook, and countless others; and a plethora of other brilliant web sites. These sites will continue to multiply, build strong communities, and improve in quality. This will be a huge boon for lifelong learners."

Karen believes that Formal educational institutions (K-12 and higher education) will ultimately not be changed by OER initiatives. Karen mentions things that cannot be stopped like youtube and wikipedia. Youtube and wikipedia are different than OER initiatives because they completely rely on user input. There is no authoritative voice of knowledge. Are OER initiatives just ways to turn something formal that should be informal anyway, and by changing does the usefulness of OER initiatives become nothing? Does the fact that OER initiatives have to be funded cause thier death in the future? Does the fact that OER initiatives are organized and have a mission kill them? Interesting questions, thanks for the thought Karen.

Bobbe mentions, "As we discuss localization and colonization we need to be aware that their are some people missing from the movement. Non-inclusion will one day come back to bite the butt of OER. What measures do we take to make sure that all stakeholders are included?"

I am not an expert or insider on the OER movement, but I think that this is true too. Those who are not involved in the movement because they are not allowed or not aware will hurt the future of OER too. OER movements tend to ignore the end user just a little too much too.

Jessie gives a good insight about changes in her native China, "I believe that the higher education in the U.S. will become more open in the future; but as a Chinese viewpoint, I feel like it is too difficult to change the traditional system of higher education. We talked about words like democracy and open for years, but hard to move on. There are many reasons of difficulties such as our government, politics, economics, and especially the population."

It is so nice to have the opinions of people from places other than the US (and very different) to put these discussions into context.


  1. I should have also mentioned on the cell phone companies comment, that we pay a fee to the cell phone companies each month that goes towards helping them pay for government mandates/requirements. So not only do they take credit for providing such great service when they were mandated to do so by the government, but they're charging us extra to pay for it. I mean, increased expenses always get passed along to the consumer at some point...they just tell us it doesn't cost anything, but it does. Oh yes, it does.

  2. Your drawing a dichotomy between OERs and user-generated content like Wikipedia and TeacherTube is interesting. I think of these both as OERs; they certainly meet the criteria of being digital, open, and education.

    It is interesting that at the primary and secondary levels, most of the OERs are mass collaboration efforts (Wikibooks, WikiEducator, Curriki). I think that is partially due to the fact that no funder has put much money toward OER, so there has been no centralized effort. Despite this though, interest in the movement is growing.

    I think that the "authoritative voice of knowledge" can come through collaboration and user generated content. Just look at this class! :)