How Open Education Can Change the World
Stephen Downes, Apr 24, 2018, Universidad Catolica de Oriente, Rionegro, Colombia
In this presentation I explore the application of open education and open educational resources (OER) to peace, reconciliation and development in Colombia. I describe how new technologies have made possible new ways of learning, and how we can work together as a community to teach ourselves, thus allowing each person the voice and opportunity to play a meaningful role in society.
This paper argues the case for the global network of world class universities (WCUs). "The outcomes of higher education are not confined to, or even primarily, the creation of private economic and status benefits for graduates. Institutions of higher education generate many other individual and collective benefits, on both the local/national and the global planes." Fair enough. But the problem is (in my view) is that the people they most benefit is themselves. To be fair, the authors recognize this. "Networked WCUs are naturally disposed to secure mutual positive sum benefits (but) the contribution of WCUs to the common good is variable... (and) is articulated by two factors. The first is the polarity between social inclusion and exclusion in WCUs, which exclusion mostly wins... The second factor is (where) global practices of WCUs escape national constraints."
It's just coincidence that this article appears as I am focusing on much the same sort of question while here in Colombia. But the author makes an argument with which I am largely in agreement. " In highly stratified systems, a major share of national resources is swallowed up by universities identified as world class. These universities are tasked with a research and prestige mission that is often diametrically opposed to enhancing equality." These universities, and the institutions that fund them, should be tasked with developing world class systems with an explicit intent to benefit all the people of a country, not just an elite. See also Jose Manuel Restrepo Abondano on how universities can help to build lasting peace.
I'm sure that the series this article introduces will be valuable, but my purpose here is to be a bit pedantic, but in so doing, allow me to illustrate the difference between my perspective and Michael Feldsteins. The pedantic point is that you can draw inferences about what ought to be done on the basis of quirks of language. Yes, 'Ed' comes before 'Tech'. But there isn't some 'Tech Ed' which is about the use of technology first in education. Rather, 'Tech Ed' means something completely different. So it means nothing that 'Ed' comes before 'Tech'.
But it's significant in the sense that the article points out that the university "modeled what universities need to do before they select courseware, from designing a business/sustainability model that enables them to provide appropriate cost of an education to thinking about educational goals to figuring out where courseware does and doesn't fit into that overall model." They did the 'Ed', then they did the 'Tech'. But I see it very differently. I look at 'Tech' and imagine what 'Ed' could be. I don't start with the presumptions of a university. And not surprisingly, where I end up looks very little like one.
This reads more like a first-person story instead of the piece of advocacy journalism it is, and it's a style I really don't like very much, but it raises a valuable point that should not be overlooked: " The skill of self-advocacy is crucial for everyone, but especially for young people confronted by steep challenges." I've seen some people who can overcome this by themselves, but for most people, the task of believing in themselves requires the help of someone else who believes in them.
I think we've generally believe that the headline is true, but it's always nice to be able to back our intuitions with research. The open-access paper being discussed is called Neural substrates of social facilitation effects on incentive-based performance. According to the summary, " In essence, the presence of an audience, at least a small one, increased people’s incentive to perform well, Chib says, and the brain scans validated this by showing the neural mechanism for how it happens.
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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.