Adoption as Linking: A Response to the Stephens

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Oct 29, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a lot going on in David Wiley's response to myself and Stephen Carson. I can't attempt a full response here (and a full response isn't needed; we can deal with the issues bitwise over time). But the key argument turns on this conditional: "If linking is going to constitute the primary method of adopting OER, every penny spent on the process of openly licensing material for OCW or OER publication has been wasted."

But in reply:
- there are other benefits to open licensing, such as allowing file sharing, format shifting, and free access;
- it is indeed hard for me to see the value on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars 'openly licensing' educational content;
- my support for 'adoption by linking' does not entail students "successfully navigate a MOOC or something like one";
- the reason why I speak so negatively about the existing university system is that it is abundantly clear that they are not concerned about access.

I also wonder, when the United States is facing its own 40 percent cut to higher education budgets (and it will, oh it will) whether Wiley will be so inclined to depend the way universities have defined their missions and served the public.
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