Tag Archives: Online Education

Interview with Rob Lucas, Educator and Curriki member

If you could give a TED talk, what would it be about?


The public value of learning. Social media gives students an opportunity to learn while creating knowledge of value to communities outside the school. They can conduct research of public interest, post it to blogs, wikis, and video-sharing sites, and then judge the reception of their work. By doing this, students not only develop knowledge and skills but learn why learning matters. Not everyone thinks about educational technology in these terms, so I’d like a chance to convince them. 

Why do you use Curriki?

I am inspired by the vision of educational resources that are open to all–and to building an online educational environment where teachers, students, and other citizens can learn bycontributing to the learning commons.

What advice would you give to new teachers?

Cultivate a habit of reading newspapers, magazines, professional journals, websites, and well-written public scholarship. Watch films and documentaries, too, and listen to radio and podcasts, looking for ways in which these give purpose, meaning, and value to your subject matter. Obviously, a new teacher will spend a great deal of time developing basic practices of teaching like managing a classroom–and rightly so! But the more you can remain connected to both your students and to broader public conversations, the more sustaining your work will become.  

What’s the first website you check every day?

Probably Slate.com. I love provocative well-written opinion journalism. Social studies teachers should also check out their new blog of intriguing historical documents, The Vault, written by Rebecca Onion.http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault.html

What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current role today?

Today, I’m a postdoctoral scholar, but I’d also love to be teaching high school AP US History. More and more, though, I find myself interested in documentary photography and film making. There’s no career change in my future, but with luck, I’ll find some way to work that in to my research and teaching.

Name your favorite guilty pleasure.

Spy novels on audiobook. Lately, I’ve been hooked on a mid-twentieth-century writer named Eric Ambler. Try Epitaph for a Spy or A Coffin for Dimitrios.

This month in OER and Online Ed

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!