I’m fascinated with the revolutionary times in which we live. The idea of online communities and collaborative creative projects (like Wikipedia) are opening a vast new horizon of opportunities for sharing knowledge and learning. Enter into this world Rice University’s Richard Baraniuk, founder of Connexions, a free, open-source, global clearinghouse of course materials. The simple yet revolutionary ideas behind Connexions are these:
- course materials are better when many great minds contribute to them;
- learning is enhanced when the learner gets highly customized materials with which he or she can do something;
- knowledge is enhanced and has greater impact in the world when it’s shared freely and widely rather than closely protected as intellectual property by corporations;
- materials published in traditional book form are too stagnant and controlled – using print-on-demand technologies for course materials allows constant updating and enhancing of content;
- re-using and re-purposing existing materials has broad impact around the world (think about open-source translation of any curriculum).
Anyone interested in modern-day cyber-education, text-book publishing, and intellectual property would do well to take some quiet time to watch and reflect on Richard Baraniuk’s TED talk. Richard Baraniuk on Open-Source LearningWhat do you think about the open source revolution? Are you embracing it, resisting it, watching it carefully, ignoring it . . . how has it contributed to your teaching or learning?