by Stephen Downes
Feb 09, 2017
This is a question thread on Quora which has just been graced by Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. Khan predicts the rise of mastery-based learning, competency-based credentials, and alternative and clearer career paths. It's not wrong, per se, but it feels like a very incomplete picture to me. There's a number of other responses as well which make for interesting reading.
This is a longish guide (60 page PDF) outlining MOOCs for instructors and (mostly) developers. There are long sections devoted to video and open licensing, which I consider to be the least important aspects of a MOOC. Interesting terminology half way through - "a Massive Really Open Online Course—a MROOC" (which would distinguish it from a merely open online course, I guess). Vie OER Knowledge Cloud.
This is a conference presentation from 2010 which was listed in the OER Knowledge Cloud today (10 page PDF). So it's a bit dated but it's well written and I felt it was a pretty good description of some fundamental trends and issues in open educational resources. The prize you get for reading it to the end is this redefinition of OER: "The phenomenon of OER/OLR is an empowerment process, facilitated by technology in which various types of stakeholders are able to interact, collaborate, create and use materials and processes, that are freely available, for enhancing access, reducing costs and improving the quality of education at all levels."
I've promoted the idea of having students author learning resources since forever, but not surprisingly the idea hasn't caught on. It won't catch on after this article either but each voice in support is a tiny step forward. The article describes physics teacher Delman Larsen's project called LibreText in which his students write the wiki-like textbook. Jessica Coppola, another professor doing the same thing, has a very practical reason for doing so. “I commonly have students who are homeless, students who have to choose between feeding their child and buying a textbook,” she says. “I had to find a way to get them a free resource.”
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