The Quiet Revolution in Open Learning

Kevin Carey, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, May 23, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Kevin Carey follows up his badge article with a description of the 'quiet revolution' that is the emergence of Open Educational Resources. Not surprisingly, he focuses on the well-known projects, such as MIT's OpenCourseWare, and on government programs around OER's, such as the proposed funding of college OERs by the U.S. government. And he tracks what appears to be an emerging trend in government funding: "Community colleges that compete for federal money to serve students online will be obliged to make those materials-videos, text, assessments, curricula, diagnostic tools, and more-available to everyone in the world, free, under a Creative Commons license." There remains the problem of credentials, but this problem is solvable: "assessment-driven 'cognitive tutors' developed by learning scientists at Carnegie Mellon are woven into science, engineering, and philosophy courses... Assessments create evidence. And that's all a credit is, in the end: credible evidence of learning." This is the direction we're headed, and I find it interesting that though Carey and I are at the very opposite end of the political spectrum, we still see the same end-game.
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