I've previously written about the need to refocus on real open learning again after being blinded by the glitter of the high profile xMOOCs for the past year or so. I don't mean we should dismiss them but instead see them as a development of the traditional educational model rather than something truly innovative and certainly not particularly open. Those of us who are interested in the development of open educational resources that are free to reuse and adapt and education that is truly open need to look beyond the mainstream MOOCs and find inspiration elsewhere.
Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY U and other works on open learning, wrote a good post in the Huffington post, Can We Move Beyond the MOOC to Reclaim Open Learning? about the need to let the MOOCs go their way and raise the profile of truly open and innovative learning. This learning is happening everywhere but receives little media coverage: in communities of practice, virtual worlds, forums, Twitter, social networks, wikis and so on. They also take place face-to-face wherever people can meet to discuss common interests. They are learner-initiated and create their own learning resources or make use of existing open educational resources and there are no formal credentials available.
Anya belongs to a group known as Reclaim open learning (#ReclaimOpen) which is a network of open learning supporters who wish to encourage more development and innovation in the field. Right now they're running an innovation contest to showcase best practice in open learning that has so far escaped the media spotlight but deserves support. The contest raises the following questions:
- What are independent learners and innovative teachers doing now that deserves support, recognition, and scaling up?
- How can colleges and universities engage with the social, participatory, and open learning ecology of the Internet in ways that go beyond making, using, or resisting xMOOCs?
- What kinds of infrastructures, policies, and business models can support more participatory and peer-based forms of post-secondary learning?
- What kind of programs and platforms could meld the grassroots capacity and peer-based learning of the net with the knowledge, expertise, and credibility of institutionalized research and education?