Thanks to Amber Johnson for sharing her picks for the 100 Best Open Education Resources on the Web.
It’s time to get radical in how we think about delivering education to the world’s population in a digital, networked world.
This Chronicle post by David Wiley is worth your time.
When the costs of “open teaching” (freely allowing people outside the university to view course materials and informally participate in the course) are so low, I ask myself a question. Do we professors, who live rather privileged lives relative to the vast majority of the planet’s population, have a moral obligation to make our teaching efforts as broadly impactful as possible, reaching out to bless the lives of as many people as we can? Especially when participatory technologies make it so inexpensive (almost free) for us to do so? I believe the answer is yes. — David Wiley
We now have a little more information about what the Obama administration’s “American Graduation Initiative” might mean for online learning.
It looks like, at this point, that the money could be used to create online, open courses and share them.
· A national “Online Skills Laboratory” would make grants for the development of open, free courses for high school and college career-oriented curricula.
· This program would be funded at $50 million per year over ten years.
Create a New Online Skills Laboratory: Online educational software has the potential to help students learn more in less time than they would with traditional classroom instruction alone. Interactive software can tailor instruction to individual students like human tutors do, while simulations and multimedia software offer experiential learning. Online instruction can also be a powerful tool for extending learning opportunities to rural areas or working adults who need to fit their coursework around families and jobs. New open online courses will create new routes for students to gain knowledge, skills and credentials. They will be developed by teams of experts in content knowledge, pedagogy, and technology and made available for modification, adaptation and sharing. The Departments of Defense, Education, and Labor will work together to make the courses freely available through one or more community colleges and the Defense Department’s distributed learning network, explore ways to award academic credit based upon achievement rather than class hours, and rigorously evaluate the results.
From Obama’s speech: Third, even as we repair brick and mortar buildings, we have an opportunity to build a new virtual infrastructure to complement the education and training community colleges can offer. We'll support the creation of a new online - and open-source - clearinghouse of courses so that community colleges across the country can offer more classes without building more classrooms. This will make a big difference for rural campuses that often struggle to attract students and faculty. This will make it possible for a professor to complement his lecture with an online exercise, or for a student who can't be away from her family to still keep up with her coursework. We do not know where this kind of an experiment will lead; but that is exactly why we ought to try it.
I’ll be monitoring this closely and will share details as they become available. The details of this initiative may change as it makes its way through the Congress.
For a good overview and links to other blog posts and free copies of the new book, read this Read/Write article: Free: It Works, It Cries, It Bites
College Lectures Should Be Free Online, Argues 'Wired Magazine' Editor in New Book (Chronicle)
Open Textbooks and course packs made up of open educational resources and existing library materials are great solutions for reducing students' educational costs.
But when you want a commercial textbook, renting may be a good option:
- Textbook Lending Grows in Popularity (Chronicle)
- We Rent Movies, So Why Not Textbooks? (New York Times)
- (one) Textbook Rental Company (Chegg)
Others include: Campus Book Rentals, College Book Renter and Book Renter.com
Many college bookstores are also starting to get into the rental business too.
While disruptive digital, networked solutions will continue to upset existing business models…. we need to keep our eye on the ball and keep asking: “What is good for students?” “How do we increase student access to higher education and reduce student costs?”
In an ongoing effort to make its digital educational, historical and cultural resources available to web users across a broad spectrum of platforms, the Library of Congress today launched "The Library of Congress on iTunes U."