In Support of Open Education


OPEN EDUCATION: Bringing free classes to the masses

I’m a huge supporter of open education. For those of us who work online, it’s easy to understand how great a tool the Internet is for teaching oneself … well, anything really. There are open source equivalents for nearly every piece of corporate software at our disposal and thousands of online experts who freely offer information on a myriad of subjects. Free (or at least cheaper) Internet access for all would go a long way towards a global revolution in open education.

Until that day happens, I have a dream. It’s an idea for an open education system which I often bring up in discussion. I encourage whomever is willing to listen to play devil’s advocate and suggest why this idea may not be feasible. So here we go…

Open Education: Bringing classes to the masses

Dream with me for a minute. Imagine if you will a large dome-shaped building within every city center. Each room within this building is separated by subject (history, geography, science, engineering, agriculture etc.) Let’s keep the subjects broad for starters.

The rooms are possibly lecture-hall-shaped, with donated desks and chairs. However, in place of a lecturer or teacher, is a monitor. On the monitor are recorded lectures or classes given by professionals or experts in their respective fields (from anywhere in the world).

Educators in support of open education

Of course educators would have to opt to have their classes or lectures filmed and their material freely disseminated as such. Perhaps some incentive could be provided by offering them advertising space for their classes/books/charity/website or whatever they might like to promote.

Once enough material is gathered, these lectures are then broadcast within our open education building and played on a loop. People are allowed to come and go as they please. They can choose to learn about whatever subjects interest them, during any time of the day, by attending however many virtual classes they wish.

What is needed for an open education hub

So what are the issues regarding this? You would need a secure building, large monitors (could be sponsored) and furniture. Content would need to be freely provided by educators and updated when necessary. There would most likely also need to be some form of security and noise control.

Perhaps this would come at the cost of educators being laid off? However, I would argue that this open education idea is not aimed to replace education systems that are already in place. On the contrary, this would ADD to the education system as a whole.

Am I just a dreamer? Please share your thoughts below and become a supporter of open education. I leave you with an animated explainer video on open education – brought to us (free of charge) by Blink Tower.

In Support of Open Education

Why Open Education Matters from Blink Tower on Vimeo.

The above video is an entrant for a “Why Open Education Matters” competition. Click here if you would like to vote in support of Open Education!

Galen

Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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2 Responses

  1. Edward says:

    Open education has a good future… Khan Academy is probably the most well known online education site around, and it has fully laid out courses which include problem solving and homework exercises. Taddy Bletcher founded CIDA city campus (also see http://www.cida.co.za) which is a ‘virtually free’ university based in Johannesburg. So it can be done. Donors should get on board and put these together in locations around South Africa & Africa!

  2. Galen says:

    Thanks for the comment and the links there Edward. I didn’t think my idea would turn out to be original at all, but it just seems like a no-brainer that we should be doing the same sort of things you refer to here in South Africa!

    Just had an afterthought – thinking about all the video tutorials on the web that could be streamed. “How to grow your own veggie garden”, “How to create a paraffin stove” etc. etc. Bring some Internet to those who don’t have any.

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