by Stephen Downes
Jan 25, 2017
David Wiley revisits his suggestion five years ago that 2017 could be the end of open educational resources. His reasoning is basically sound: "Our fixation on discovery and assembly also distracts us from other serious platform needs – like platforms for the collaborative development of OER and open assessments." And he argues that the value-add of systems like Pearson’s MyLab and Cengage’s MindTap makes them significant educational tools. So it may be that his prediction wasn't wring so much as early. "PDFs aren’t going to get us there," he writes. "We need more efforts to provide the benefits of publishers’ “adaptive” systems while honoring and enabling the values of the OER community." No question. Image: FutureOER
The thrust of this fairly detailed article is that "though the true purpose of public education is clear — to provide benefits to individuals and communities — education is now becoming more aligned with the purposes of firms; all of which may lead to richer companies but poorer (in an educational sense) communities." I don't agree with the dichotomies set up in the article - in particular, I don't associate technology use with corporate control - but I am nonetheless wary of corporate influence. After all, we have the example of how a focus on market forces rather than communities has served traditional media, which now struggles both for credibility and sustainability.
Contact North has launched a directory of Canadian researchers in open and distance learning. Browse through the listings and you'll see a lot of big names in the field. Norm Vaughn writes, "Wow, the idea for a Canadian researchers directory is AMAZING - as nothing like this exists at the moment and I think it will really help to build and enrich the online, blended, and distance research network in Canada - kudos to Contact North for putting this together." I have to admit having had similar sentiments when I saw the list.To add your information to the list (note, you have to be working at a college, university or other institution in Canada and have published work that other people have cited) share the information via the Contact Us form.
Britain's JISC is entering the final stages of selecting it's next big focus. After a process of consultation, the choice is down to two options:
I find it interesting that neither of the final two has anything to do with online learning. Alternatives included studying the implications of the intelligent campus, the next generation of learning environments, and digital apprenticeships.
I would say that it's not a lot of new data, but it's some, and it shows widening adoption of skills programs around the world, including work in critical thinking and problem solving. "Evidence points to a higher rate in identifying a breadth of skills within national documents (except mission and vision statements) and in including descriptions of skills progressions."
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