Open Education at OSCON 2008

July 18, 2008 § 2 Comments

Danese Cooper has organized what promises to be an excellent conversation about open education at OSCON in Portland. Mark Shuttleworth will be part of the mix. Karien and I prepared some quick background notes for Mark re: what think is exciting in this space and the specific work we’re doing. I figured it would be useful to share here:

1. A growing number of people are creating open, collaborative learning content. This is exciting. It not only increases access to knowledge, it also adds more creativity and collaboration to the classroom.

  • The Open Courseware Consortium now has 200 member universities
  • Leading sites like Connexions, Curriki and OER Commons house over 45,000 open educational resources
  • Commercial entrants like Flat World Knowledge are stepping in and driving innovation

2. While it draws on the values and techniques of open source, open educational content is different. That’s the point of the Cape Town Declaration: to define the principles that should guide open education.

  • The Declaration calls for open approaches to content, technology and teaching
  • 1600 people and 165 organizations have signed the declaration since January
  • Signatories include everyone from Jimmy Wales to Desmond Tutu to Peter Gabriel

3. It’s also important to do bold, concrete experiments where we figure out the techniques that make open education work. That’s why we’re creating a set of free, collaborative textbooks for South African schools.

  • Will cover all core subjects in South African curriculum from k-12
  • Focus is not just free beer: the aim is to get teachers to create collaboratively
  • Helping to build a platform standard by working with Connexions at Rice University

Other open edu co-conspirators on the panel: Brian Behlendorf (who will hopefully talk about the super cool and disruptive Seneca / Mozilla open source course model); David Wiley (inventor of the first open content license and open ed super hero); and Bobbi Kurshan (fearless leader of the Curriki revolution). If you’re going to OSCON next week, this panel is a must see. Sadly, I won’t be there myself.

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