Thursday, 21 March 2013

Celebrate when users profit, not corporations

Open education week
One approach to challenging expanding corporate control of education is open education resources.  These are digital education resources anyone can download for free.

The OpenCourseWare (OCW) Consortium declared March 11 to 15 as "open education week" to help publicize the tremendous educational resources and courses that are now available for free online.
Many resources are from universities and are used by higher education students.  However, a survey by OCW found that secondary students made up more than ten percent of its users.  The survey also showed that the reason most often given for going to the site was "personal learning."

Open textbooks offer alternatives to hugely expensive post-secondary texts.  They become "open" when the copyright-holder gives public rights through an open license.  The textbook author retains copyright to the content, not the publisher. 
A leader in Canada is the BC Open Textbook project.  It provides information and resources to assist in developing and making available open textbooks and other open resources.  Its list of sources of open textbooks gives quick access to finding what is already available.

All the massive access now available online is great, but who judges the quality of the content or the accuracy of the information?

Some sources of open education resources:
The British Columbia Open Textbook project:

ITunes U has more than 500,000 free lectures, videos, books and other content.
OCW Consortium portal--links to courses that can be used for free:

The UK Open University portal OpenLearn:


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