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If we use basic notions such as “access” and “ usability” as our touchstones for OER we do not have to worry so much about if they are intended for formal or informal educational purposes, or if they are going to be used for relieving human suffering, home schooling, personal development, integration into a traditional university curriculum, etc. The point is that they are available, and right now, as it has been pointed out, there is a lot of content available. Could it be made more accessible or useful? Can we do anything to help teachers and learners use and modify OER in ways that make sense for them given their needs?

17. ken udas -february 23rd, 2008 at 11:20 am

This comment form “jsener” sort of slipped through the cracks and I think that it merits some thought.

I also disagree with the assertions that online learning in the U.S. “has not delivered on the promise of increased access” and has fared better for quality. There are now over three million online learners annually in U.S. higher education and probably over 12 million cumulatively since its inception. The majority of this has happened at community colleges, for which access is an integral part of their mission. How does this not represent an increase in access? While I think that online learning has finally succeeded in establishing a perception and reality of quality, IMO this still lags behind relative to its achievements in improving access. If online learning failed to deliver relative to some of its initial hype, the fault is with the hype.

I happen to agree with this. I feel that Online learning in the U.S. has, on the aggregate, increased access to higher education, but it might have done so with differential impact on different learner communities. For example in the “golden age” of paper-based distance education, incarcerated learners were relatively well served through distance education. That is, many facilities provided enough access to paper based materials to allow an inmate to engage in a formal distance education program. Very few prisons allow Internet access to inmates, significantly reducing access to that learner population for this modality. This becomes an access issue when institutions move from traditional paper-based distance learning delivery methods to online.

I wonder too, what percentage of institutions with a history in traditional distance education (Penn State, UMUC, Open Polytechnic of NZ, Open University UK, UNISA, University of Wisconsin, etc.) have moved away from paper and only offer their programs online. I also wonder if tuition and fees have risen disproportionally throughout the transition, creating another access issue for some learner populations.

18. christine geith -february 24th, 2008 at 5:03 am

Ken and John, appreciate your thoughtful responses in this thread. Regarding access, while what you’ve noted about participation is true, take a look at what’s in our paper (live at (External Link) ) and I think you’ll see why it’s not clear that online has increased access to degrees - albeit that’s just one definition of access.

Questions & Answers

Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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