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I agree that content is infrastructure, but there is a philosophical component that goes along with this — that learning designers and faculty alike must embrace the notion of openness in their design. I think we are on the verge of getting to a more open culture as it relates to content … a place where learning designers and faculty are trying to understand how to use new spaces to reinvent the delivery of content. I saw this about 10 years ago — as people were just climbing the Internet mindset. Will it lead to an environment that promotes the use of emerging spaces in the delivery of University content? I hope so. We just aren’t there yet, but given the right context it can become the norm.

6. ken udas - october 6th, 2007 at 8:09 am

Taking my lead from Wayne, Martin, and Cole, it seems to me the question:

Are there things that we can do that will change the way we think about resourcing content (work processes, licensing, the nature of education&education providers, our identities as educators, etc.)?

is pretty reasonable. That is, there is a cultural mindset that that needs to develop on campuses that will enable and promote the development and distribution of free content. Eventually, one way or the next, the “cultural mindset” would pervade the organization, influencing not only the commitment of faculty and learning designers, but also technology managers, marketers, legal counselors, academic administrators, managers, etc.

The level to which the “cultural mind set” needs to pervade the organization (community) will of course vary from university to university depending on a lot of things. It seems to me that one cultural norm that could be pretty debilitating is the assumption of competition over community. I have noted a feeling in higher education (not limited to the US) that we are competing with each other at an institutional level. If this is an organizational orientation, there is an understandable impulse to treat internally generated learning resources as either private goods or toll goods (see Wayne’s comment above).

If my assumptions, assertions, or conclusions are spurious, please question or correct them. Until then I am left asking myself two questions:

  • Is it possible to harness the competitive impulse to promote free and open content?
  • What are some of the differences between institutions that have adopted free and open educational resources as part of their identity and those that have not?

As a final note, I have a feeling that organizations that engage in free and open educational resource development principally (or solely) to 1) gain some sort of competitive advantage, or 2) raise institutional profile, are starting on an unsteady foundation in the long-run.

7. colecamplese - october 6th, 2007 at 8:32 am

So in light of these questions, are we prepared to ask ourselves (and ultimately our organizations) if open content is a strategic goal (on any level) for us? The “us” is not just the World Campus, but our Institution … there are pockets making a go at this right here on our campus — in the past the College of IST and the Online IST curriculum was mostly open, and currently the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences are making it happen Where do we stand and where do we want to be? Perhaps the most important question is how do we intend to get there?

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Source:  OpenStax, The impact of open source software on education. OpenStax CNX. Mar 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10431/1.7
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