OpenFiction [Blog]

Michigan OCW

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on January 17, 2008

There’s a nice article in the Michigan Daily on the OCW that’s been in the works there for a while. I’ve heard Joseph Hardin talk about their planned approach a couple of times. Their essentially attempting to make OCW production a part of the student experience, which is the only approach I’ve yet seen proposed that I think has a chance of scaling campus-wide and dramatically reducing costs.

It is a longer row to hoe in terms of changing university culture. The virtue of the large centralized organization we have is that we didn’t have to ask faculty or students to change what they were doing at all. We simply had to ask them to hand over the materials from the course. The down side is of course cost. Most of the cost-reduction measures we’ve discussed–such as having faculty enter materials into a common LMS and tag them for later OCW publication–require fairly significant changes in faculty practice, changes I estimate will occur at the pace of retirement if at all.

Hardin’s proposal, having students act as what he calls “dScribes,” collecting and publishing content for credit rather than pay, cuts out many of the fixed costs and asks the University to adjust to a new form of student engagement/participation in the teaching and learning process, one that I can see could have significant educational value for the students (especially if they plan at some point to teach), but doesn’t ask faculty to change behavior too much. Again, an indication that it might have a chance to succeed. Michigan is definitely on my list of projects to watch in the coming year or two.

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