Home > Teaching & Learning > Open Questions on Open Courseware

Open Questions on Open Courseware

By Eric Jansson

Sustainability of digital projects is in the news again. The announcement that the National Science Digital Library, or NSDL, will be de-funded in 2012 serves as the latest reminder of the difficulties of sustaining large-scale efforts to aggregate and publish digital academic content. That the NSDL will lose funding in the midst of a recognized crisis in STEM instruction makes the warning that much more clear.

Higher education’s flagship, grassroots initiative to aggregate and publish high-quality teaching resources is looking vulnerable, too. I refer here to open courseware initiatives: efforts to digitize and publish online the academic output of a number of our elite research universities. Collectively, these initiatives are higher education’s principal homegrown variety of open educational resources, or OER. It is tempting to make mission-centric arguments in support of open courseware, arguing that these projects merit ongoing institutional subsidies. But that debate disguises the more fundamental question of whether open courseware as currently practiced integrates what we know about the capabilities of digital curriculums to integrate learning theory and support online learners.

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/07/07/essay_on_unanswered_questions_about_open_courseware

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