Higher Education Liberated - Now We Can All Learn!

When I was a student (long before the Internet age) a certain mathematics lecturer would enter the lecture room and start writing notes from the top of the left blackboard. When he reached the bottom he moved onto the middle board and then the right one. When all the boards were full he wiped out everything with a wet cloth and started again on the left. That was how he lectured! He rarely spoke - his students spent the entire hour just copying the notes. This was clearly not the best way to learn but his students had little choice. His notes were essential for the examination so best to study the notes exclusively and follow up with some question spotting shortly before the examination. It was all a rather tedious game and the students who played it best received the highest grades - but I doubt whether much mathematics was learned! Not all lecture courses were that bad but that type of experience and the factory-like regimentation of learners into specific rooms at specific times colors many people's thinking about learning and Higher Education in general.
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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - Unsorted Links

I'm finding it difficult to keep up with the explosion of interest surrounding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Here are the latest 10 unsorted items collected on delicious. Further contributions are welcome! . . . . . .

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for Everyone

Open Online Courses are now very much in the news. By offering online support to hundreds if not thousands of international learners Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are taking over where Open Courseware (OCW) left off. Connectivist MOOCs originated by George Siemens, Stephen Downes and others were first on the scene but now other types of MOOC are being offered such as Stanford's Coursera, MIT's MITx, and Udacity. (For listings see Class Central and Open Yale Courses).

Connectivist MOOCs

Based on connectivist principles, these MOOCs represent one extreme and are probably most removed from what many people think of as a 'course'. Learning objectives are entirely a matter for the participants themselves and it is not considered necessary or even possible to complete all the course assignments. The facilitators act more as guides than instructors but a basic curriculum, daily newsletters and presentations by experts may be provided. Otherwise, participants determine their own levels of engagement openly sharing their knowledge through blogging, commenting, tweeting, bookmarking and whatever modes of interaction they prefer.   . . . . . .

(MOOCow - Based on 'la vaca de los sinvaca' by José Bogado)

The State of Open Courseware (infographic)

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Four Notable Steps Towards an Open Global Education Network

Almost four years ago we speculated about an Open Global Edcation Network (OGEN), a futuristic education network that would bring Higher Education to anyone, anywhere in the world.

"Ideally, OGEN would draw the best content from whichever network node was appropriate, provide the best (human) expert tuition available whenever the user needed it and maintain connection with a manageable (by the user) group of fellow students for whatever level of interaction he or she was comfortable with. The user would be presented with a personalized and seamless educational experience with no awkward leaps back and forth from one walled-garden to another along with jarring changes of style and presentation."
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An Open Global Education Network for millions of online learners - fantasy or future?
(Peace by Cayusa, on Flickr)

Guide for the International Online Learner

 Plain English    This page is written in simple English to help language understanding and translation. If English is not your first language try the 'Google Translate' gadget on the right side of this page - choose your language and Google will give a translation.
Some time ago we wrote about an online Open Global Education Network (OGEN) that some day would meet the huge demand for inexpensive Higher Education from many different people in many different countries and cultures. Sadly, only small parts of such a network are found today. There is plenty Open Courseware but this is usually taken from normal university and college lecture courses and may not be very good for online learners. Other things that support online learning are more difficult to find online such as good teachers and professors, inexpensive textbooks and the chance to study with other learners, (see Learner Support).
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Towards an Open Global Education Network ?

Unsorted Links

We are experiencing problems with the 'unsorted links' ('iBerry on Delicious') attached to many sections of the Open Education Directory. These are bookmarked with delicious.com, now under new ownership so changes are evidently being made to RSS feeds etc. Please bear with us while this gets sorted out. If necessary we will use another service.

Update: our problems now seem to be restricted to delicious 'bundles'; i.e. where several tags are grouped together under one name so although feeds for single tags seem to be OK anything using 'bundles' is not working or returning an error messsage. I understand from the delicious forum that this will be put right in due course but I am unclear as to when or in what form so I'll just leave things as they are now in the hope that things improve soon. Note that all this only affects the display of unsorted links on our pages here - you can always go to iBerry on Delicious and find our unsorted links there (I hope!).

Open Online Courses

Lately, there has been a rash of Online Courses of a distinctly different hue from the traditional 'distance learning' type that often do little more online than mirror the progress of a regular university or college course - and for a sizable fee! The newer type of online courses are often referred to as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and there is no fee (at least without formal credit). They are 'open' in the sense that anyone can join in and 'massive' in that many do, sometimes several thousand! There may be readings, set assignments, newsletters and live presentations by experts but the focus is on self-directed learning where participants are encouraged to do their own thing and share whether it's commenting, blogging, bookmarking or interacting and engaging with others in any way that contributes to the communal learning experience.

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How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education

Infographic by: OnlineEducation.net . . . . . .

Advice for the Universal Online Learner

What good advice can be offered to any online learner anywhere in the world? Not an easy question because learners come in so many different guises: different ages, educational background and experience and English may not be a first language. You could be a student on a formal course and the course itself could take many different forms. To add to the complexity you might be more familiar with traditional approaches to education where a figure of authority, the 'sage on the stage', firmly delivers nuggets of knowledge with little or no opportunity for interaction.

The first piece of universal advice is therefore to abandon any idea of this 'mind dump' conception of learning. Education is far more to do with understanding than merely absorbing 'facts' and constructive interaction between like-minded people whether fellow learners, professors, or anyone else will greatly assist understanding.
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E-learning (right page)
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