Expanding Dialogue Through Open Source Curriculum

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:

  1. course materials are better when many great minds contribute to them;
  2. learning is enhanced when the learner gets highly customized materials with which he or she can do something;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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 Learning

What 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?


Thank you to author Joan Dempsey for this post!

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