This month the news and blogosphere were abuzz with talk about recent open education and online education developments across the globe. Here’s a quick recap:
UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education (July 5-8, 2009)—World leaders and education experts gathered in Paris to discuss recent global higher education developments and a vision for the future of post secondary ed. Emphasizing the continuing need for initiatives aimed at improving educational equity and access, the conference Final Communique states:
- Our ability to realize the goals of Education For All is dependent upon our ability to address the worldwide shortage of teachers. Higher education must scale up teacher education, both pre-service and in-service, with curricula that equip teachers to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills they need in the twenty-first century. This will require new approaches, including open and distance learning (ODL) and information and communications technologies (ICTs).
- ODL approaches and ICTs present opportunities to widen access to quality education, particularly when Open Educational Resources are readily shared by many countries and higher education institutions.
- The results of scientific research should be made more available through ICTs in addition to open access to scientific literature.
OER Discovery 2009 (July 10, 2009)—At a conference hosted by ccLearn and the Open Society Institute, OER movers and shakers gathered to discuss existing and needed search solutions that will enable people to better find the OER materials they looking for. Two search tools discussed were DiscoverEd and OER Recommender.
US Government to increase Community College Funding and the Development of an Online Skills Lab (July 14, 2009)—President Obama announced a new $12 billion federal government initiative to strengthen US community colleges and called for five million added graduates by 2020. As part of the American Graduate Initiative, the government plans to fund and a develop a new Online Skills Lab that will provide free online courses to community colleges across the nation, as well as the Defense Department’s distributed learning network.
Harvard Goes Digital with Scribd (July 17, 2009)—Keep an eye on Scribd as Jon Stokes of ars technica points out that Harvard University Press will publish 1000 books on Scribd. He writes:
- Harvard is once again in the news for something besides losing gargantuan amounts of money, with Harvard University Press’s recent announcement that it will publish a selection of titles digitally through Scribd. Does Harvard’s move (both the losing money part and the going digital part) represent the future of academic publishing?
More updates next month!