OpenFiction [Blog]

More from the UW Eau Claire student body presidential race

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 17, 2008

Two more articles in the UW Eau Claire student newspaper. The newspaper endorses candidates supporting an OCW at Eau Claire, albeit with this somewhat cryptic concern:

There was one issue both tickets brought up that the editorial board found troubling, though. Both brought up the OpenCourseWare system the university is going to be installing soon, which may be good for students but bad for professors. The system, which puts course syllabi and materials online for students to view before signing up for classes, would force some professors with more difficult course loads to potentially dumb down their classes so as to better appeal to prospective students.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that particular concern argued before. The other article covers a debate.

Stanford considers OER

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 17, 2008

The Stanford Daily is reporting on the discussions underway on campus about a possible open educational resources project there. The deliberations include faculty, students and administration. From the article:

Stanford currently offers a little over a dozen full-length audio courses for free download through “iTunes U,” a branch of Apple’s popular downloading service that hosts digital content from colleges and universities. A Stanford YouTube channel distributing select video content will launch in the coming months.

While these offerings are limited, the University has convened a task force, the Stanford Open Education Initiative (SOEI), to explore the possibility of significantly expanding content and accessibility in the near future.

“[SOEI has been] researching the range of options,” said Scott Stocker, director of Stanford Web Communications, including “joining the OpenCourseWare Consortium, building a site similar to the Yale Open Courses site, or attempting to create a unique Stanford offering.”

Very exciting stuff!

Another best-of

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 15, 2008

Here’s another listing of top resources by discipline that have been appearing of late–this one on math. I point to it not because MIT is in the top spot, but more remarkably because seven of the ten by my count are OCW Consortium members–plus CMU, which is a fellow Hewlett grantee. Really very nice to see so many unique contributions and illustrates that OER are not one-size-fits-all.

Virtual sharecropping

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 15, 2008

D’Arcy Norman has a nice post this morning, which is riffing off of a few other posts, that articulates many of my own misgivings about social networking sites.

…we’re all furiously publishing reams of content into various social network applications and services. We post updates to Twitter. We write on walls in Facebook (or, more likely, just play Scrabulous). We post photos to Flickr. We put videos on Google Video, YouTube, and now Flickr.

While all of these activities are valued, and contribute to the sense of online community, they are basically the activities of a sharecropper. Tilling the landowner’s field, toiling in the landowner’s soil, until, eventually, the landowner reaps the rewards.

While I’m getting the feeling I’m pretty high on the list of ugliest blogs sites ever, I do prefer my own space with my own control to the manicured lawns of facebook.

Two news items

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 14, 2008

Top down and bottom up support for OCW in the news today. First, an op-ed piece by Susan Hockfield in the Boston Globe today:

…perhaps the most powerful tool to offer people in the developing world is knowledge and analytical skills they can use to help themselves. Today, MIT’s OpenCourseWare makes materials for virtually all of the institute’s 1,800 courses available online, to anyone on earth, free ( For many courses, translations are available in Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese, with Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish versions on the way.

Since MIT launched OpenCourseWare in 2001, more than 40 million people around the world have used the site. We regularly receive e-mails from teachers, students, and self-learners, explaining how MIT OpenCourseWare has improved their teaching or changed their lives. One woman from Latin America wrote a note of thanks, because, as she put it, OpenCourseWare opens “a window of knowledge for so many who are limited by economic or other reasons. It’s truly a way to spread freedom to humankind.” We hope she’s right.

And this from the student newspaper of UW Eau Claire covering the student senate presidency campaign there:

High on the Lauer-Charlier to-do list is implementing an online database that would allow students to see syllabi and video from professors courses to help give students a better understanding of what a course would be like.

Lauer said the OpenCourseWare program would start slow, having only a few professors participating at first before opening the program to all professors. He said Senate received $20,000 toward start-up costs but added that it wouldn’t cost much to implement and run the program since the program is in place at universities across the country.

Sony BMG Sued For Using Pirated Software

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 7, 2008

Capilano College OCW

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 4, 2008

Congratulations to the team at Capilano College on becoming the first Canadian institution to launch an OCW. Their initial offerings have really great breadth. John Wilson at Capilano has also been tireless in helping the OCW Consortium transition to an independent entity. Capilano’s courses are a great addition to the growing global body of open educational content!

Relativity in 6 minutes

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on April 3, 2008

Courtesy MIT 8.033.

via Science After Sunclipse