“Why we say we’re open…”

Jared presented a good broad categorization of open ed motivations (Philanthropic, Strategic, Pedagogic, Economic) and I liked the framework Michael proposed as well; motivations based on values and motivations based on value. Picking up from there, here’s a little analysis on the “whys” (at least the public ones) of some top open education initiatives…

MIT OpenCourseWare : Unlocking knowledge, Empowering minds. “MIT OpenCourseWare is an idea – and an ideal – developed by the MIT faculty who share the Institute’s mission to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship to best serve the world.”

Values: excellence in instruction, universal access to information, education for service
Value: PR and reputation effects for the institution, competitive advantage, indirect sales (support recruiting)

OER Commons : Free-to-use Teaching and Learning Content from Around the World “expand educational opportunities by increasing access to high-quality Open Educational Resources (OER), and facilitating the creation, use, and re-use of OER, for instructors, students, and self-learners.

Values: improved OERs, improved instruction, improved access, multi-culturalism

C()SL at Utah State : Open and Sustainable Learning “is dedicated to increasing access to educational opportunity worldwide…we believe that all humans beings are endowed with a capacity to learn, improve, and progress. Educational opportunity is the mechanism by which we fulfill that capacity. Therefore, free and open access to educational opportunity is a basic human right.”

Values: rights-based access, humanism, education for service, advocacy
Value: PR and reputation effects for the institution

Commonwealth of Learning : Learning for Development “helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training”

Values: humanitarianism/charity, access
Value: PR and reputation effects for the institution

Carnegie Mellon OLI : Working to help the World Wide Web make good on its promise “Using intelligent tutoring systems, virtual laboratories, simulations, and frequent opportunities for assessment and feedback, OLI builds courses that are intended to enact instruction – or, more precisely, to enact the kind of dynamic, flexible, and responsive instruction that fosters learning.

Values: innovation, relevance/effectiveness/flexibility in learning
Value: PR and reputation effects for the institution, research platform, technology integration/exploration

WikiEducator : Free elearning content. Just try it! Our community will support you. “The WikiEducator is an evolving community intended for the collaborative planning of education projects linked with the development of free content; development of free content on Wikieducator for e-learning; work on building open education resources (OERs) on how to create OERs. networking on funding proposals developed as free content.”

Values: community organizing, improved OERs
Value: cost-savings for participants

  1. Cool. The values/value dichotomy is usually operationalized in psychology as intrinsic/extrinsic motivation. The National Middle East Language Resource Center, which is headquartered at BYU did a survey back in ~2004 where they tried to categorize Arabic students’ motivations (including intrinsic/extrinsic) and then tie that to their learning preferences. The survey largely replicated the work of Schmidt & Watabe (2000) at the U of Hawaii.

    I ran the stats on the results and the numbers fit the expected pattern, just like in the 2000 study. In other words, the intrinsic/extrinsic dichotomy has been empirically supported in multiple studies, so I too would be comfortable running with it.

  2. SaraJoy–thanks for analyzing the different providers in this way. It helped drive home the point for me that every institution (and person) may have different motives for sharing!

  3. I was preparing to ask if it was fair to say that you think “PR and reputation effects for the institution” is a value for everyone, but then you did not include it for Wikieducator. Why not? What is it about their model that makes you think this is not a value for them?

    Jeremy’s comment about the values/value being a matter of intrinsic/extrinsic is interesting; do you agree?

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