Open CourseWare: the second generation

From David Wiley, see also the video below:

“The first generation of OpenCourseWare projects (”OCW 1.0?) had essentially no sustainability plan. These first generation projects were funded by grants and had no means of supporting themselves once the grants ran out – except asking other people and other organizations to donate money. Consequently, in tough economic times (read, “now”) these programs will find themselves at risk. (Please understand that I’m not pointing and laughing; I established one of the larger OCW 1.0’s in the country at USU.)

A new generation of OpenCourseWare projects are built around sustainability plans. These second generation projects are integrated with distance education offerings, where the public can use and reuse course materials for free (just like first generation OCWs) with the added option of paying to take the courses online for credit (there is no way to earn credit from the first generation OCWs). The Open Universities of the UK and the Netherlands, UC Irvine, and the small pilot program at BYU Independent Study are built on this model. These second generation OCWs are simultaneously a powerful public good and effective marketing tools that generate revenue and can likely sustain themselves financially. (We’re studying this sustainability model in a truly fascinating dissertation study at BYU right now.) Schools with first generation OCWs that also offer distance education courses (like USU) could transform themselves into OCW 2.0 programs if they wanted to.

As the second generation model of supporting and sustaining OpenCourseWare projects (”OCW 2.0?) is demonstrated to be effective, the OCW movement will expand rapidly. I anticipate the cost per lead generated from opening courses will prove significantly lower than the cost per lead through other marketing channels. Once this is established, OCW will become a default component of marketing programs at public, private, and for-profit schools that offer distance courses. The number of content-complete courses (as opposed to the often spotty, content sampling approach of OCW 1.0) will explode. The relevance of OCW 1.0 collections may be called into question at this point.

Unfortunately, universities which refuse to offer distances courses cannot sustain their OCW projects with the OCW 2.0 model.”

Video: David Wiley on the OpenCourseWars:

(discussion of the chapter 2005 – 2012: The OpenCourseWars in his MIT book: Opening Up Education)

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