Lumen Learning: A Red Hat for OER

Last week I wrote about the many goals I have for the open education movement, and how a Fellowship from the Shuttleworth Foundation is enabling me to spend focused time pursuing them. While I tried to lay out a compelling vision of what I want to accomplish last week, I didn’t discuss the how. Clearly, accomplishing a set of goals of that scope and magnitude requires more energy and productive capacity than any one person could ever muster.

Today I’m happy to announce the launch of Lumen Learning, a new organization I’ve founded together with my long-time friend and collaborator Kim Thanos. Our goal with Lumen is to significantly improve student success by bridging the gap between OER developers and potential OER adopters.

Over a decade and $100M US in foundation funding later, an incredible amount of high quality open educational resources exist which are only rarely used in formal settings. The situation today feels very much like it did with open source software about a decade ago. Back around the turn of the century, almost everyone had heard of open source and was interested in potentially saving money and improving the stability and quality of their technology offerings, but very few institutions had either the bravery or the capacity to run systems for which there was no formal training and no technical support. Red Hat stepped into this vast pool of curiosity and caution with training, technical support, and other services that put adopting Linux within the reach of a normal institution. Lumen is trying to do exactly same thing – step into the deep pool of curiosity and caution around OER with the faculty training, academic leadership consulting, technical and pedagogical support, and other services necessary to put adopting OER within reach of a normal institution. In other words, we want to make Lumen into a “Red Hat for OER.”

In the coming days and weeks I’ll write more about what we’re doing. For now, check out for an overview of our first group of partner schools, services, etc. More to come…

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  • gpouliot

    Thanks for the updates on your work. Keep it up. There definitely needs to be some handholding at this stage of open course materials. My one minor criticism is for a site that’s called Lumen (light), it has a pretty dark color scheme. Try some yellows or oranges.