Stephen Reviews the OCW Consortium Website

In the most recent issue of Innovate, Stephen reviews the OCWC website. He is generally unimpressed, making a variety of comments about the lack of interactivity offered by the site: “contrary to expectations, there is no discussion or community component,” “if there is a community – and one presumes there is – it is well hidden,” and “it is unfortunate that the main access point to the OpenCourseWare Consortium is an impenetrable barrier.”

Now I happen to know the person at the other end of the email address on the OCWC site, and he does a phenomenal job of responding. But Stephen’s comments are worth considering. Stephen also apparently hasn’t seen the OCWC wiki: It’s unsurprising that he hasn’t heard of it, though. I just asked Google who links there and apparently not a single site on the internet does (until now w00t!). I wonder why that is?

3 thoughts on “Stephen Reviews the OCW Consortium Website”

  1. I’m sure the person at the other end of the email does a great job responding, but the thing is, restricting all commentary to email like this removes all possibility of *public* discussion in the context of OCW consortium.

    As for the wiki – the owners of the wiki probably never thought to link to it from anywhere (certainly I never found it, despite an exhaustive search for something, anything, resembling a community). If you don’t tell people about it, don’t be surprised when nobody links.

  2. What’s with the crack about “photogenic professors”? Is this like getting a chili pepper on ? Stephen, I didn’t get to choose the size or layout of the picture. If you hate the layout, then turn the webmaster in to Neilsen and Norman, but that comment is going to land me in therapy due to low self-esteem.

  3. We appreciate the conversation that Stephen Downes’ latest article on the OCW Consortium portal affords. As OCW Consortium Coordinator, let me offer a few thoughts and clarifications:

    –The OCWC Portal as designed merely represents version 1.0 of our online aspirations. We are currently and actively working on version 2.0, and hope to have something out by Fall of 2007, if not sooner. Community-building is very high on our priority list for this next version, and has been for some time. We very much appreciate the validation that we are heading in the right direction on this front.

    –We have no desire to be elitist or exclusive. Hopefully the fact that I’ve been brought on as Consortium Coordinator from a wonderful land grant university (Utah State University), and not the ivy league, illustrates this point. The truth is that we are very eager to bring in new members of the Consortium from all walks of higher education–from R1s, to land grant universities, to community colleges–both within the United States, and abroad. Open, high quality, university-level content is warmly welcome.

    –We agree that the requirements for membership in the Consortium are not clear on the portal. This is partly because the formal Consortium governance structure is not yet in place, so we have not yet finalized exactly what will or will not be considered official OpenCourseWare. Currently, we are operating under the following general guidelines:

    • Membership in the Consortium is institution-based, focusing on accredited institutions of higher education. We ask for a minimal commitment of 10 courses from each institution.

    • The courses must be IP-cleared, meaning that the OpenCourseWare publisher has the rights to make the materials available under open terms and that nothing in the materials knowingly infringes the copyrights of others.

    • The courses must be universally accessible via the Web

    I must conclude by saying that the interest and support in the OCW Consortium has been staggering to me. I receive emails almost daily from institutions around the globe expressing interest. We are working very hard to respond to these emails in a timely manner, and feel very optimistic about the momentum.

    Thanks again for your coverage of the OpenCourseWare Consortium. I hope that anyone who is interested in learning more will feel free to contact us directly at: [email protected] , or me personally at: [email protected]


    John Dehlin
    Interim OpenCourseWare Consortium Coordinator

Comments are closed.