Monday, April 9, 2012

Conversation with a Faculty Member

In pursuit of the OpenEd Evangelist badge, I drafted an argument supporting the adoption of open education (see blog post of argument here).  I then had a conversation with a member of the faculty at an institution of higher education.

We had met regarding the development of some on-line instruction for the use of students on the campus.  As we talked, I discussed some of the issues outlined in my argument post (referenced earlier) and expressed my belief that the efforts of the faculty member could be a blessing far beyond the course and student population we were then discussing.

I mentioned the possible use of OER in the development of the content for the course we were discussing.  I also proposed that we actually develop some of the content we were planning to put on-line and that we openly license that content.  I suggested that we might want to consider only using content that was openly licensed and then licensing the course as OpenCourseWare and making it available on-line.

The faculty member was familiar with MIT OpenCourseWare and had been considering how curriculum might be offered that way from the institution.  In fact, this faculty member had designed a curriculum that progressed through several levels of instruction (foundation, upper division, graduate) for different topics in the field that was part of their curriculum.  We discussed how we might follow that map and develop a complete curriculum plan for each specific topic and make that available openly as well.

The last point that I emphasized was that we could make these courses part of the instructional strategy in the classrooms on campus.  These courses would be advertised as supplementary materials available 24x7 to matriculated students is support of their learning.  This would position the open courses in the strategies supporting on-campus students and justify expenditure of faculty time to develop the courses and department and institutional funding to develop and maintain them.

There was an agreement that we would proceed with the course we were then discussing in the format that was already proposed due to time constraints.  But we identified two general education level courses that we would commence a project in the near future to produce as OpenCourseWare.  I have prepared the budget and I am awaiting official project approvals (and developer assignments) to begin course design and production.

I was pleased to encounter a faculty member who was progressive in thinking about the sharing of knowledge and curriculum openly with learners around the world.  I am almost afraid to approach other faculty on campus because I don't believe that all of them will be as receptive.  But that will be an opportunity to assess just how persuasive my arguments are.

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