Publishing, music, shopping, journalism – all revolutionised by the internet. Next in line? Education. Now US academics are offering world-class tuition – free – to anyone who can log on, anywhere in the world, is this the end of campus life?
DENVER — MOOCs are on the tip of everyone’s tongue here at the annual Educause meeting, presumably because of their scale and the technologies their recent champions have built to support that scale. But in his opening keynote, Clay Shirky, an author and assistant professor at New York University, said the most provocative aspect of MOOCs is not their massiveness; it is their openness
Flat World Knowledge blazed a trail several years ago by publishing free versions of its independently produced textbooks, in the process becoming a hero to student advocates and many in the open educational resources movement. But like many an early pioneer, the company is having to beat a retreat on that path; it now plans to eliminate the free versions of its books as of January 1, 2013.
Did you know that Google offers a sortable library of lesson plans that are free to download and use? It’s part of the company’s big push into education (seems to be quite the trend these days) and involves thousands of free lesson plans just waiting for you to try out.
Technology will define where online education goes next. All those millions of students clicking online can have their progress tracked, logged, studied, and probably influenced, too. Talk to Khan or anyone behind the MOOCs (which largely sprang from university departments interested in computer intelligence) and they’ll all say their eventual goal isn’t to stream videos but to perfect education through the scientific use of data. Just imagine, they say, software that maps an individual’s knowledge and offers a lesson plan unique to him or her.
When edX launched its first two courses in October this year they had 100,000 people registered between them. Coursera, which alone reported over a million registrants from their April 2012 launch to the following August, are offering over 100 courses this fall. As of September, they had about 680,000 registered for those. Udacity stood at nearly 740,000 registrations to date as of August 2012, with over 100,000 ‘active’ at the start of back-to-school season. And then there are the smaller, more grassroots MOOC offerings like Current/Future State of Higher Ed, which collect a few thousand people around shared topics of interest.
That’s a lot of people, all told.
Many, of course, won't finish their courses; the attrition rate in MOOCs is notorious. There’s no filter on the front end – people register for free and thus very literally don’t have to buy in to the program of study.
But the scale of those numbers may still have effects.
In Finland 30 maths enthusiasts got together to write a free (CC-BY) textbook in a weekend. It's the process that's interesting here, not the open textbook angle. Taken from software development notions like hackathons or codesprints, these book sprints are excellent ways of getting books written (I was part of one to write a book on technology for OER).
Fred Mulder holds the UNESCO chair in Open Education Resources (OER). In the frame of the Open Access Week, he talks with us about the progress that has been accomplished and the efforts to be done to further promote the OER.
Coursera, the largest provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs), has entered into a contract to license several of the courses it has built with its university partners to Antioch University, which would offer versions of the MOOCs for credit as part of a bachelor’s degree program.
The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. Aggregators can integrate the records in their commercial services and libraries can integrate the directory into their online catalogues, helping scholars and students to discover the books. The directory will be open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.
“The ease and convenience it offers learners appeal to people just about everywhere, especially those who are trying to balance work, family, and other obligations. Yet certain nations have embraced online education more than others, leading the way both in terms of the number and variety of programs and new innovations to online learning itself. Here, www.onlineuniverstities.com highlighted some of the nations that are really stepping up the game when it comes to online education, though with the proliferation of high-speed internet connections and a growing need for highly educated people in technical positions around the world, other nations likely aren’t far behind.”
"Forty-seven states and territories have fully adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics. The implementation of CCSS will be extremely costly to states, in part, because many districts will have to purchase new instructional materials and textbooks aligned to the CCSS out-of-cycle."
Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators. MOOCs — or Massive Open Online Courses — have been getting a lot of attention lately.
In addition to formal education, such communities are increasingly emerging in informal and non-formal lifelong learning environments where learning is happening in a freely organised manner, bringing together learners, experts, and other parties. This study aims to examine these new learning communities in order to find innovative pedagogical and organisational practices that support lifelong learning in different settings and foster innovations in the interaction of teachers, learners and organisations.
The OER technology directions book that Amber, Phil, Martin and I drafted during a book sprint at the end of August is now almost complete. We even have a title! Technology for Open Educational Resources - Into The Wild.
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