Openness, Networks, and the Disaggregation of Higher Education

Before you start screaming that you’ve already written about this and I haven’t cited you, notice what I’m asking here. I’m giving a talk with the following abstract in a few weeks and am still doing research for the talk. If you have written something on the topic, let me know so I can be sure to include you. If you know of something interesting in this area that you didn’t write, please let me know anyway!

(1) Open educational resources such as MIT OpenCourseWare demonstrate that educational materials are increasingly becoming a free, ubiquitous infrastructure for teaching and learning. Leveraging free and open access to a wide range of high quality educational resources can allow the faculty member to drastically change their role in supporting learning. (2) The increasing connectivity of teachers and learners via email, SMS, instant messenger, Twitter, and other tools allows us to move beyond “groups” in our thinking of multi-person assignments to a broader, more loosely knit notion of networks. Large-scale, collaborative social networks challenge our ideas of academic honesty but are a simple fact of life that instructors can either fight against or leverage to better support learning. (3) Open educational resources and social networks point toward a future for higher education in which services traditionally consolidated within a single institution (e.g., providing content, providing learning support, providing assessments, providing degrees) are disaggregated and provided by a number of institutions that compete on quality of service and price for learner business.

(I’ve already found Terry’s excellent Networks Versus Groups in Higher Education.)

7 thoughts on “Openness, Networks, and the Disaggregation of Higher Education”

  1. David – there’s quite a bit about this from the online/distance learning perspective, also the course redesign (blended learning) perspective.

    What you’re talking about builds on work like this: Twigg, C. (2001). Innovations in online learning: Moving beyond no significant difference, Troy: The Pew Learning and Technology Program.

    I haven’t seen anything yet from the OER perspective – looking forward to seeing how you approach it.

  2. Dear David,
    I do share your point of view. A brilliant support to OER has been Fred Mulder’ sspeech (Rector of the Open University -The Netherlands) at the 2007 EADTU conference.
    In Italy there is still a certain resistance to Open Access in general, and in particular to OER.
    I try, in my position of University of Bologna E-Learning Centre to share and support this new approach, especially in my teaching ( I recently finished to produce an e-learning course in information literacy devoted to medical doctors, where I explain the advantages of open educational resources).
    Valentina Comba

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