What can I do for open education?

Hey professor

I was just wondering if there was any way i could download the content of this class to my computer. I really enjoy the lectures and all the info and active links and there are a lot of posts that i would like to go back and read again. If there is an easy way to get it all that would be really cool. I also was wondering if it is possible to go back and do the same for previous semesters? Well if there is a way just let me know thanks for an awesome class.

— Patrick

OMG Patrick, I thought (I do sometimes think in SMS), here I read all this stuff about open education and I don’t even have a clear way for you to get to the material afterward?

It’s not that my classes are open — they’re not. They’re closed in several ways. They are full of enrolled students, so many (40 per class) that I cannot keep up, so they’re seriously closed. We’re a week into the semester, so you can’t join us — the class is closed. The classes are in Moodle, a learning management system and thus a closed silo, a walled garden, a protected “course” that provides a safe classroom-style space but makes visible lifelong learning require links out to the web and multiple passwords.

But my lectures are on the open web, and always have been. Not by design — when I started constructing them there was no place to put them except the open web. Or a passworded folder. I asked the MCC computer folks back in 1998 to make me folders called “pw” for each of my classes, but didn’t do much else. Since then, I link out to the lectures from whatever system I’m in or syllabus web page I’m on. I revise these lectures continually and upload them to space on a hosted site, and they’re just there, available by URL. But in my online classes in Moodle, because they’re linked out, one might not wish to track all those URLs. They aren’t all on one page, but rather grouped with the discussions and quizzes in each week’s block.

Since the forums are locked inside Moodle, and the class is made invisible (I don’t delete them) after the semester is over, those would be much harder to get to later on. In fact, even if I left them open, I plan to move away from my private Moodlerooms account soon now that they’ve raised the price from $500 to $1500 a year, so the content might not be there later anyway. Even if we used a Ning or Facebook instead of a CMS, who’s to say that will be there ten years from now? The open web spaces we construct things in won’t even be there (she thinks as she spends hours late at night constructing a Prezi).

But the lecture I can do. My only hesistation is that I link and embed some copyrighted material. So if a movie studio sends me a cease and desist letter, I’ll have to do some editing. But isn’t it worth it to have a place where students can at least access my lectures later on? Even if they’re a bit different? Should I archive the old ones?

Anyway, I sat right down and made a webpage of all the lectures from all my classes, and am encouraging other instructors (as has Patrick) to do the same. I may not be ready to walk the whole walk of open education, but I can at least do that. And let anyone come in who wants to for their own enrichment — I have my first unofficial “auditor” attending a class this semester. I gotta think hard about the rest….

One thought to “What can I do for open education?”

Comments are closed.