Sunday, November 25, 2007

OpenEdu Week 13: The Future of Open Education

QUESTIONS: What will the future of higher education look like? What impact will the open education movement have? How will we get there from here? What will be the effects of open education movement upon K-12 education? (alessandro giorni) What will be the effects of open education movement upon high school education? (emanuela z.) What role can OERs play in developing countries? (Stian Haklev)

Dr. Wiley has taught us a good way to write a hypothesis paper that write the whole paper as the predictions had already come true. I do like this form of writing. Maybe after ten years, twenty years, fifty years, we look over the narration; those predictions do come true like in one of my other classes, some scientists foretold a few things would happen later without any evidence that time; those things did come true after a hundred years. No one can guaranty what will happen to higher education in the future; we can only predict with the evidence we have for now, our personal perspective, and our imagination. Dr. Wiley had pointed out some of the problems open education movement will face in higher education from a US-centric point of view; I guess one point of him is willing to hear more people’s voice from different countries predicting what similar things would happen in their own country. Before directing the questions, I want to ask if anyone can help understand this sentence in the article, “Apparently there are also those who claim that the Chinese MetaU was the final brick in the basket that tipped things in the direction of democracy in that country…"

I believe that the higher education in the U.S. will become more open in the future; but as a Chinese viewpoint, I feel like it is too difficult to change the traditional system of higher education. We talked about words like democracy and open for years, but hard to move on. There are many reasons of difficulties such as our government, politics, economics, and especially the population. So I am thinking if we want the higher education become more open in China, maybe we should start with the bigger universities in educational-centric cities, then move on to local universities. When the time the open education movement has been well developed in China, many people not only school students but more lifelong learners will be benefit from it; informal learning will be all over; certificate from open universities will be accepted by public; the students will never worry about not being able to afford higher education. But before this moment happens, many things need to be taken care of such as those complicated license problems, government, politics, and so on. And another very important thing we can’t ignore is that the conditions for the learners to access to open education resources.

I am not very interested in discussing about the effect of open education movement upon K-12 or high school education; they are the same thing almost. It won’t be my field for later study or job; I know it is also important and I would like to hear other people’s opinions about it, especially those who are professional in those fields. For the last question from Stian, I would like to say some about it. We can not just answer what a single role OERs play in developing countries, because it really depends on which country we are talking about and what their cultures are. In China, before we take open education into account, we do need to convince the parents to accept the advanced open education more than the traditional education because as so far, the parents are the ones pay for the education for their children and they have lots of power to determine if their children will have higher education or not and even what field their children will choose. If open education can finally take over the place of traditional education, the children can choose their own study field, have lots information available from the open education resource, and benefit from it.


Henry Cate said...

One thing I often ponder is what will the sky rocketing cost of education have on education. For several decades the cost of going to a unversity has climbed twice as fast as inflation.

We are starting to see a breaking point. Many parents are mortgaging their future.

I believe things will change. I don't know if fewer students will go to college. Or if people will find a cheaper education, maybe via an online service, or maybe off shoring. Or if there will be other changes.

robmba said...

The question you had on the sentence about the MetaU in China causing democracy...I think he's saying that by opening up education to the masses, giving people a taste of freedom and openness, they will want more and China will change to a democracy instead of communism.

Hopefully democracy will work out for China better than it's been working for Russia.

Anto said...

About your question on China and MetaU: I too see a strong connection between openness and democracy.
But I want to point out a small phrase in your post: "the conditions for the learners to access to open education resources". I agree with you. For me it is a very important issue that I feel is not so much taken in consideration.. It's not only a matter of "hard" digital divide as diffusion of ADSL and so on.
For this requirement I see a strong role for primary schools: they must give, above the usual literacy, a strong "digital competence" too.

emanuela zibordi said...

your post make me think about different levels o freedom and what ICT and OER can do for it. I hope you can realize your project to give more chances to the chinese students.
I wish you all the best.

Elisa - ITALY said...

I hope things will change soon in China, I am not so pessimistic as you, think to your country only ten years ago and you will realize how quickly it is progressing ... You just should want to change it, I know that if you really want you can. :-)