OpenFiction [Blog]

USA Today on OCW

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 27, 2008

Here’s a really nice article that really captures the US OCW movement. It’s great to see UOCWA getting some national props.

This bit I like. It’s something the writer researched on his own, and illustrates the importance of multiple types of media in OCW presentation:

Not everyone prefers multimedia platforms. In Indonesia, limited bandwidth means it’s easier to download static files than to deal with streaming video or audio. Because many materials from MIT and USU don’t require multimedia platforms, teachers across Indonesia are able to access them and benefit, even though they’re not studying for credit. “Learning materials and process are more important here than just a degree,” says Ferry Haris, a computer programmer for the Indonesian government. “Especially when books are very costly for most of us here.”

2nd-generation OpenCourseWare collection

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 20, 2008

Here’s a great example of what I am thinking of as second-generation OCW collections. This collection assembles a list of courses from various university OCWs into a curriculum for Web designers. One can also imagine such collections around challenges such as sustainable development planning or development of renewable energy sources. These types of collections magnify the power of the individual OCW sites.

Daily Gamecock Article

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 15, 2008

Another student newspaper article, this time at South Carolina. I have to say, I really enjoy reading the student newspaper articles, as they capture more of the transformation going on within the educational community around open educational resources.

Duke OCW and Penn OCW?

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 13, 2008

Two student paper articles out today discussing the possibility of OCWs at Duke and Penn.

Japan OpenCourseWare Survey 2008

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 13, 2008

goo Research has conducted a follow-up to last year’s survey on Japanese attitudes toward OpenCourseWare, and as with last year, What Japan Thinks is kind enough to make it available. Good numbers all around with modest increases in awareness of OCW. What caught my eye this year was the final question:

Q10: What do you think is the more important point regarding using OpenCourseWare? (Sample size=1,000)

Easy-to-understand lectures 28.9%
Rich selection of courses 20.3%
Interesting lecture themes 19.0%
Availability of audio, video of lectures 10.9%
Lots of universities participating 7.2%
Can buy text books on the High Street 4.3%
Can ask questions to the lecturers 3.6%
Highly-topical research fields 2.7%
Being able to communicate with others using the same OpenCourseWare 1.9%
Well-known lecturers 0.8%
Other 0.4%

This is likely in some ways a reflection of cultural teaching and learning practices, but there is a marked preference for more content over more interactivity with professors or other learners.

More on Facebook

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 11, 2008

The NYTimes is carrying this article on the impossibility of leaving Facebook. A snip:

While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely. Indeed, many users who have contacted Facebook to request that their accounts be deleted have not succeeded in erasing their records from the network.

“It’s like the Hotel California,” said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

Still mostly a buyer beware situation, but it does seem like kind of an oppressive business model. Never the best idea to alienate your customers–ask the music industry.

Here’s a big number

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 8, 2008

MIT OpenCourseWare servers have distributed their 2 billionth file of OCW content (We call these “hits”- each OCW page is made up of about 8 files so generates 8 hits). 2,000,000,000. That’s a whole lotta learning.

The cost of copyright

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 8, 2008

D’Arcy Norman’s recent post illustrates the (not so) hidden costs of copyrighted materials. They are easier to find, but because of DMCA/TEACH and similar laws, ultimately more expensive to deploy. The comments on this post are a great read as well. I’ve felt for a long time that one of the additional costs of a reliance on copyrighted materials is that much of the development energy for LMSs goes into copyright management rather than tools that actually support learning.

I’ve done enough teaching to understand that there’s no practical way to avoid using some copyrighted materials–a contemporary lit class would be a difficult one to pull off, for instance, without copyrighted works. The problem is that is in using these materials–and the protection measures they require–a lot of material that doesn’t need to be locked up gets hidden behind firewalls. As a best practice, then, only lock up what you have to. Get the syllabi, the assignments, the quotes used in the context of criticism, etc. out there. Over time, this will help move things in the right direction.

Education Week article on Highlights

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 5, 2008

Education Week has a great article (subscription required) on Highlights for High School. The piece really captures the intent and strength of the site:

Universities have long regarded improving K-12 education as part of their mission, said Diana G. Oblinger, the president of Educause, a Washington-based nonprofit group that supports technology’s use at colleges and universities. In recent years, however, more institutions have gone from providing online resources “about” math and science to providing access to firsthand research and courses those schools’ faculty are conducting themselves. What makes the MIT high school site unusual, she said, is its simplicity and clear organization. “One of the biggest barriers for people using this material is time,” Ms. Oblinger said. “You need to make it easy for people and integrate it.”

It’s great to get this coverage in a place like Education Week, where we can reach those Highlights was intended to serve.

Walter Lewin on Al Jezeera

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on February 2, 2008

Spreadin’ the love…

MIT OpenCourseWare’s videos have always been poplar in the Middle East. Hopefully this will make them more so…