Why I Love OCW

Apparently some of the readers of my new OpenCourseWars draft misunderstand. They think that I don’t like MIT OCW, or the opencoursewares in general. Let me set the record straight.

First. MIT OCW has done more for the open education movement than any other project or person in the last decade. If you’d like to nominate another person, another project, or any other anything that you think has had a bigger impact on open education in the last ten years I would love to hear it. You can’t come up with one, because there’s not one. Tens of millions of visits from self-learners, students, and faculty around the world? International consortia of the top universities that want to follow your lead? Fifteen minutes on CNN International? Show me anyone or anything else that even comes close.

Second. If you think that my prediction that OpenCourseWare won’t be the most innovative thing going thirty years from now means that I’m not a fan, you completely misunderstand how history works. The only things that history judges as important are the things that inspire the next generation of things. This is why I had no qualms shutting down OpenContent when Creative Commons came along with the next generation of licenses. It was high praise. And the highest possible praise I could pay OCW is to say that it will evolve into the next generation of open education. And I fully believe this – there will be something like a MetaU sometime in the future, and the excellent materials in the world’s OCWs will be one of the primary foundations for it.

Third. If I wasn’t a fan of opencourseware, I wouldn’t spend my time advocating for Utah State University’s OpenCourseWare. And I sure as heck wouldn’t be losing sleep devising ways to spread opencourseware through every public university in the state of Utah, or celebrating when the state legislature funds it.

MIT OCW and the other OCWs (like USU’s) are doing awesome things for people. Yes, over time, we will figure out how to make improvements to what we’re doing. In my chapter I’ve tried to imagine what some of them will be. But it is a testament to how much I like OCW that I would base a chapter on the future of OER on the OCWs. I love MIT OCW, USU OCW, and the other OCWs just as much as the people who work at MIT, USU, and every other school with an OCW initiative. And so should you. There is no time for “us” versus “them” infighting in the OER world. We have too much work to do.

3 thoughts on “Why I Love OCW”

  1. “If you’d like to nominate another person, another project, or any other anything that you think has had a bigger impact on open education in the last ten years I would love to hear it.”

    Not one day goes by without using it.

    For the next 10 years OLPC will be a big contender.

  2. Hi David,

    Totally agree with you about the positive influence that MIT has had on the opencourseware/open educational resources and open content movement.

    However, this movement has been influenced by so many great people and institutions. I would put the your work on open content up there as well as the efforts of USU. Afterall, here at the UNU we are using educommons!

    Also I have the feeling that all this would not have been possible or even so much fun without Creative Commons!

    I think that the world of OCW is going to get even more exciting over the next few years as we move from publishing to interacting around and with the content as Web 2.0 matures or Web 3.0 emerges.

    But to me, a MetaU sounds a bit monolithic. Rather than a MetaU, my boss here at the United Nations University, Hans van Ginkel, talks about transforming the Web/Internet into a Global Learning Space. What we really need, I think, is some way to harness the power of the web so that you can learn in a culturally diverse and enriched world. Maybe that sounds overly idealistic?

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