Will Open Education Turn the Corner in 2012?

The “open revolution” in higher education — much anticipated in 2010 — finally began taking root in 2011.  Some observers, including Paul Stacey at BC have anointed 2011  “The Year of Open”:

It’s not just publications, research, theses and other content that is going open, 2011 was the year that open pedagogies including Massively Open Online Courses MOOC were adopted by mainstream big name institutions. A Massively Open Online Course is typically taught by faculty at an established institution to tuition paying regular students but is also open to enrollment by anyone interested for free.

via WCET 2011 Elearning Predictions.

But the greatest leap in 2011 may have been around infrastructure.  I’ve written previously about efforts by PESC, MIT/OpenCourseware and others to build the necessary content and technology infrastructure for “open education“, but these have mostly been efforts by traditional education entities: schools, education technology vendors, consortia, and industry organizations.

Perhaps the most exciting leap forward in “open education” is the entry of non-education partners, including the Mozilla with its “Open Badges” project:

Learning today happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it’s often difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements that happen outside of school. Mozilla’s Open Badges project is working to solve that problem, making it easy for anyone to issue, earn and display badges across the web — through a shared infrastructure that’s free and open to all.

Mozilla’s effort is the first program we’ve seen that provides all of the elements required for open certification — peer evaluation, standardization, portability — in a single package.  Funding for Open Badges was provided by the MacArthur Foundation.

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About bskluger

I have been an education technology practitioner for over a decade. This blog is a personal experiment with playing the role of observer. We'll see if I can pull it off without getting back into the fray.
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