Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Questions for Open Content Sustainability

I've had a good conversation with Peter Reed this week in the comments section of my post on open learning content over at e-Literate. Peter has been doing research and thinking on the topic of sustainability and asks some good questions. He has a good post up on his site that I recommend as well. I will be writing more about sustainability in OER and broader open learning content next week, but I think the issues Peter and I discussed are the heart of the matter:
  1. Which group(s) of users should be the ultimate audience/target for OER?
  2. What kind of ongoing time and effort commitment will faculty and/or institutions be willing to make regarding OER?
  3. Is there sufficient usage of current OER projects to warrant continued funding?
  4. Is there enough momentum to sustain open content projects after current funding ceases?
  5. What might entice for-profit groups to consider long-term partnerships with OER projects?
Of course, if you've read my recent posts, you'll know that I believe more attention needs to be devoted to aggregating and curating the open and free content we already have. Sustainability is ultimately about market penetration and demand (defined as actual use). This means creating greater consumer awareness and developing mechanisms of convenient consumption. Along those lines, I enjoyed this article on the desconstruction of OpenLearn units. It is really interesting to look at the glossary items and learning outcomes in this way.

In my recent presentations I generally have a slide about how hard it is to predict the future. While that may be true, who among us hasn't had a go at it? After all, predicting the future is fun, even if you're not a super genius like Stephen Wolfram. All kidding aside, Wolfram's presentation the future of computation at SXSW last Sunday (I was lucky enough to attend), was enlightening. I also enjoyed this list of twenty-one things that will become obsolete in the future.

Finally, I encourage everyone to take a look at the new series Phil Hill has started over at e-Literate. Phil is diving in to the old and the new as he examines the current models of course design/delivery in Higher Education. I'm really looking forward to the coming posts.

Suggested Reading
The Future of Open Learning Content Hinges on Ease of Use
eLearning at Science & Engineering: Is OER mainstreamed and sustainable?
Deconstructing OpenLearn Units – Glossary Items, Learning Outcomes and Image Search « OUseful.Info, the blog…
5 Things I Learned About the Future from Stephen Wolfram
The personalized web is just an interest graph away — Cloud Computing News
TeachPaperless: 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020
The Emerging Landscape of Educational Delivery Models
Flipping the Conference | Inside Higher Ed

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