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ERIC Number: EJ913282
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-127X
Online, Bigger Classes May Be Better Classes
Parry, Marc
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v76 n4 p19-22 Dec 2010
In his work as a professor, Stephen Downes used to feel that he was helping those who least needed it. His students at places like the University of Alberta already had a leg up in life and could afford the tuition. When a colleague suggested they co-teach an online class in learning theory at the University of Manitoba, in 2008, Downes welcomed the chance to expand that privileged club. In an experiment that could point to a more open future for e-learning, Downes and George Siemens attracted about 1,200 noncredit participants last year. The Downes-Siemens course has become a landmark in the small but growing push toward "open teaching." Universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have offered free educational materials online for years, but the new breed of open teachers is giving away the learning experience, too. However, not everything about open learning is revolutionary. The question is whether open teaching has a future beyond early adopters. Distance educators who haven't taken the plunge yet are interested, but also cautious. Like many institutions, the University of California at Irvine publishes free online learning materials, such as lecture slides and syllabi. But Gary W. Matkin, dean of continuing education, says he can see inviting outsiders to participate in an online course only in a separate space. Partly, he says, it's about student privacy, but also about setting a learning context for paying students, meaning what they see and how their education is structured. Lori Wallace, dean of extended education, notes that open teaching is up against academe's history of private classrooms and intellectual-property ownership.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada