How open should open education be and how to monitor

How open should open education be and how to monitor

The last 2 weeks of the ONL202 course were dedicated on the benefits and challenges of open education. I happened to be one of the group leaders and I followed the topic closely. 

By the end of it, I am having more questions and concerns than before! And I started looking at multiple dimensions of this:

  • [For students] Transitioning to openness translates to flooding the internet with the same information in many different ways and platforms. So, how do “students” find what is the best for them for a specific topic? Or even worse, how do they find what is best for them to study? These questions raise:
    • the need for monitoring the quality of what is uploaded
    • the need for constructing open curricula as well for better guidance
    • the need for a unified platform – at least in certain regions
  • [For the society] What kind of people do you produce in a society when all the education is open (and therefore often depreciated) and there is lack of content and context?
  • [For educators] What open education means to educators?
    • How are their competencies and jobs protected?
    • How is their workload affected?
    • How is their time-invested not exploited by other educators that only harvest? 
  • [For educational institutions] What is the future of educational institutions, if they are no longer needed as such?

All these questions and discussions let to the following thought that has been growing in my mind every day: we need a non-for-profit platform in which quality of information/courses is evaluated/assessed constantly by peers (peer review process) and in which credits are given to those who contribute, as it is the case with research. This platform can be divided into fields and further enhanced to provide curricula and guide students to choose from the available courses in order to build the right expertise. Universities can become the facilitators in this journey! 

“When you educate one person you can change a life, when you educate many you can change the world”- Shai Reshef

Definitely education should be readily available and, if possible, for free! 

Some source of inspiration:

Weller, M. (2014). Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press.

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