Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Obama Course-Giveaway Backlash?

Aug 10, 2009

Barack Obama announced plans to spend $500-million on freely available Web-based courses and some professors who should know better are acting like private health insurance companies facing the Armageddon of public health care. "It's unethical to allow a student to have access to courses and not provide a support system that allows them to have success," Ms. Gibson (Chere Gibson, a University of Wisconsin at Madison professor emerita) said. Really? Unethical? As compared to the system's current practice of barring admission to all those unable to pony up tens of thousands of dollars cash (or lucky enough to be connected enough to get a scholarship)?

It's unlikely the Chronicle will be anywhere near this week's Open Education conference, but if it were, it would find that a great of good could be done with $500 million. And at least a part of my remarks tomorrow will be directed toward the proposition that it is the existing system that is the one of the greatest barriers to the provision of real open education in this society and around the world. Related: Carnegie Mellon's Open learning initiative. And related: has open education crossed the chasm?


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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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