We are just a few hours from the end of the first round of the Open Education Challenge. In less than two months, 500 applications have been submitted. This is new evidence of the changes taking place in education worldwide: each proposal we receive is a proxy for new contents and teaching practices, innovative devices, technological assessment tools… And a promise to give users the opportunity to learn what, where and when they want. The Open Education Challenge demonstrates that education is no longer limited to curricula and degrees – it’s about innovation, creativity and… entrepreneurship.
The irruption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in the debate over higher education in recent months is another symbol of change. The debate that took place at the latest EMOOCs conference (co-organised by P.A.U. Education with École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) and that continues on a daily basis on the www. openeducationeuropa.eu portal, introduces a new vision of education and, more specifically, of higher education. Teaching tens of thousands of learners both simultaneously and worldwide directly challenges our understanding of learning, and introduces confusion regarding, for instance, the need for personal guidance as being central to the learning process (see the now famous article by Diana Laurillard about the five myths about MOOCs).
However, MOOCs postulate something revolutionary: they suggest that universities – and nation states – may lose their absolute power in deciding who will get access to learning and where.
MOOCs take the debate on quality of education to a public place. Experts who have worked discreetly on quality in education for so long suddenly find themselves in the middle of a huge public debate, even though it is often oversimplified and caricatured. Citizens increasingly question their education with comparative data. And policy makers have found themselves under pressure to justify the adequacy of their education systems with regards to the needs of citizens.
The millions of students that register for MOOCs – even if they don’t attend the courses until the end – and the thousands of entrepreneurs that decide to innovate in education send the same message: education is ours!
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox
Join other followers