OpenFiction [Blog]

Great article

Posted in open access, open education, Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on August 13, 2010

This is one of the better articles I’ve read recently on open educational practices (as opposed to the narrower field of open educational content, which is my particular patch of the weeds). I’m struggling to find which of the excellent passages to quote, but I’ll take from the conclusion placing open courses in the wider context:

Open courses are not a new way to pass on knowledge from the initiated to the acolyte. Rather, they are an acknowledgment that passing knowledge from one to another is not, and has never been, the primary goal of the academy. The academy seeks to grow knowledge by engaging learners and members of society in a discussion, an exploration. Open courses permit educators and a global network of learners to participate in research, learning, and sense-making around a given topic. In opening our doors to collaborative participation, we are making a value judgment about what we want higher education to be and are also, perhaps, opening the door to new research, learning, and business models of our own.

Definitely worth reading the whole piece.

I’ll pair that with this article, which headlines the New York Times today, in which Alzheimer’s researchers seem astounded to learn that sharing data openly leads to progress:

At first, the collaboration struck many scientists as worrisome — they would be giving up ownership of data, and anyone could use it, publish papers, maybe even misinterpret it and publish information that was wrong.

But Alzheimer’s researchers and drug companies realized they had little choice.

“Companies were caught in a prisoner’s dilemma,” said Dr. Jason Karlawish, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “They all wanted to move the field forward, but no one wanted to take the risks of doing it.”

Go figure.

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