So it is, so shall it ever be…


bus3, originally uploaded by Lawrence Whittemore.

When considering how changes in media might affect how education is delivered, I’ve been known to indulge in heaping helpings of hyperbolic speculation spiced with apocalyptic flavours. I can’t help myself, when I observe something like the meltdown of a cultural industry, my mind immediately begins toward similar scenarios in my own profession. Isn’t it possible that new media might spawn similar challenges to how education is funded and delivered? Are there equivalent threats to what Craigslist has meant to newspaper revenues out there?

I haven’t really gotten past that idle speculation phase, but a few recent developments have caught my attention.

* I had long wondered why the high and rising prices of textbooks hadn’t spawned an online piracy scene. Well, evidently that practice is indeed quite common.

* I’ve seen a few attempts by online communities to connect potential learners with potential instructors. The School of Everything has garnered a lot of buzz, and will be fascinating to watch.

* I thought David Wiley’s open course on Open Education was a fantastic model, and it’s clear the big happening in online learning for this semester will be George and Stephen’s course on Connectivism & Connective Knowledge. It’s hard not to be impressed with the many means of interacting with the course, or amazed with the sheer scale of the thing (the number of signed-up participants is in the thousands, hence the notion of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Looking at my schedule in the coming months, I refrained from signing up. But I intend to be observing and interacting – I have no choice, it’s where all of my friends will be! In any event, these sorts of courses, run on scalable open tools, can be successful without much regard for a lot of the conditions we are used to thinking of as essential to educational program delivery.

If we don’t do it right, somebody just might do it better.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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