Image via Wikipedia
In a great Slideshare presentation, Openness and the Disaggregated Future of Higher Education, David Wiley asks: How might we open things up? Higher education needs to figure this out.
I started giving this some thought and decided to make a list:
- Video cameras in every classroom-- Streamed and archived video of everything. The world is invited into every activity of the academy. This is a first step. Eventually we have to lose the whole concept of a classroom and even a campus. Learning is not place-bound.
- Intellectual property-- Close the university intellectual property offices. All formerly copyrightable materials are released into the commons: Creative Commons 3.0. Patentable discoveries are released into the public domain. It's that easy.
- Open textbooks-- No commercial textbooks allowed. Faculty are strongly encouraged to contribute to and participate in open-textbook projects. Every faculty member is evaluated today on a public service component. A simple question could be added to all faculty evaluations: What are you doing to support the commons?
- Open-courseware-- All course materials are released to the commons. No exceptions.
- Credit hours-- Anything based on a measurement of time is meaningless. Time-based learning is a throwback to the industrial age. Some things we learn fast, some things take longer. One thing is certain, none of us learn at the same pace. Openness requires freeing learning from these types of artificial constraints.
- Embrace open-learning-- Being learner centered requires the use of the tools used by the learner. So embrace blogs, Facebook , and other forms of social networking. Go to where the students are, and stop expecting them to come to us. Higher education needs to embrace the concept of Personal Learning Environments and ditch the whole Course Management System thing. Stop spending millions on Blackboard and Moodle too. There is nothing social constructionist about Moodle-- so stop the lie. The only people who should be managing learning are the learners themselves.
- Tuition--If credit hours are absurd then so is a system of paying for an education based on that artificial unit. Students are paying for a lot of things when they decide to attend a university. That the payment is bundled into the unit of instruction is nothing short of odd. Openness mandates that the payment for education be done entirely different.
- Peer assessment-- Faculty who teach no longer assess. Assessment needs to be separated from learning. In a world where most learning is socially constructed the competitive model of assessment is a severe impediment.
- Departments/disciplines-- Eliminate them entirely. Move to self organizing communities of learners and scholars that are not discipline-based. Silos are so last century.
- Open research-- Open data, open notebooks, open labs... Complete transparency from start to finish.
- Tenure-- Employment for life? Yeah right. Openness requires a much more porous movement of intellectual talent both in and out of the academy. In addition, the costs for managing the whole process are obscene. These cognitive cycles should be focused on something more important.
This was done off the top of my head. What'd I miss? What doesn't belong on the list? What can't possibly work? The floor is yours...