Posts Tagged ‘capital’
2013 might just be the year for the open learning movement to build on the attention and momentum it built up last year.
Much has been said about the benefits of open learning systems and resources. But I think there is one benefit that has not been celebrated as much: Transparency.
In the context of higher education, a university can laud its rankings due in part to academic publications. Despite the closed and exclusive nature of most journals, other academics can buy these journal articles to gauge the quality of research from that university.
If that same university has, say, a reputable service learning programme, it can also share what it does with publications and conferences. NIE’s GESL is one such example. Though that website and publications, it can allow interested others some insights into the programme.
But how do we let the public or stakeholders gauge the quality of instruction if they are not taking our courses? How do we build up our reputational capital in this academic area?
We might publish articles or share at conferences elements of our teaching practice, but these are spotlights on what we choose to share. They are not representative of our overall ability to educate. I think an answer lies in open learning.
By creating free and easy-to-access resources, teaching faculty share their knowledge and skills with those inside and outside their immediate classrooms. There is a transparency like no other. Being open and transparent allows others to see how well we teach.
There is also added stress from more open feedback and critique, but this is an excellent form of quality control. This can, in turn, polish our courses and teaching, and create demand for our courses.
So I think that universities stand to gain more by being open than by being closed.
The old system of academic exclusivity is passing because we live in the age of Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube. To survive, we must not only understand the changes as exemplified by these tools, but also take advantage of them.
These tools, platforms, and systems were created outside the university system and designed to be mostly open. We must go there and play by those rules because those rules are relevant now and in the near future.