At the heart of the Open Education Resources movement (and the Open movement in general) is the notion that education is a public good. The progression to such sentiment may be based in a notion that an educated citizenry betters democracy and civic life (folks like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson), or that knowledge and wisdom are non-rivalrous and non-excludable (Econ 101), or that the increase and diffusion of knowledge stimulates societal and cultural growth (James Smithson, John Quincy Adams). Regardless of its germination, the crux of such thought is that the provision of education from an egalitarian lens results in benefit across the population.
At face value the Massive Open Online Course fits this vision: courses are free, prerequisites are encouraged but not enforced, and access to the best professors at the best universities is not bound to geography or economics. And research into the framework of the MOOC points to the opening of university walls, the building of intra- and internet communications and an attempt to promote the increase and diffusion of knowledge for society, whether communal or global. That’s why it’s worth noting that one of the primary voices in OER, David Wiley, sees the 2013 incarnation of MOOCs as a money grab:
I propose that, whenever you hear the acronym MOOC, you think: “Massively Obfuscated Opportunities for Cash”
How can a MOOC be both a bastion for openness and the epitome of closed content? Continue reading