Help us Edit the Learners Bill of Rights

Philipp Schmidt, Deans for Impact, Jan 23, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

P2PU is launching a campaign to create and in some sense ratify a 'Learner Bill of Rights' for online learners. All very well, though I think the idea of a Bill of Rights is a bit of an Americanism - I contrast it with the 'Cyberspace Charter of Rights' I authored back in 1999 and which I think still reads well. Of course, I never had the means (nor inclination) to round up a biunch of famous people to sign it, so it never received a whole lot of traction. Anyhow, the P2PU 2013 version - also covered in the Chronicle - includes some learning-specific clauses (which I think frankly are questionable): 'the right to have great teachers' and 'the right to be teachers'. It also includes a set of 'principles' which, to my view, have nothing to do with rights: that online learning should originate everywhere on the globe, that the function of learning is "to allow students to equip themselves to address the challenges and requirements of life and work," and so on. I'm not sure where they dredged up the original signatories (I was not asked or consulted, obviously) but if you ask me it's pretty top-down and manipulative. See also: The Possibility of Punk: A P2P Strategy Jam. More from University Affairs and Doug Johnson (who contrasts it with cartoons from Larry Cuban). Photo source Centre for Edupunx.

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