Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Open Course Initiative
The Open Course initiatives at universities such as MIT, Yale, Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon have gained a great deal of attention in the higher education community. I must admit that I have recently become a big fan of Professor Paul Bloom and his Introduction to Psychology course at the Yale Open Course site. Whether the topic was Freud, Skinner or happiness, I found myself completely engaged in his lectures and I felt like I learned a great deal by just "eavesdropping." The Chronicle of Higher Education has called Berkeley Professor Marian Diamond a YouTube star because her Integrative Biology lectures have been viewed well over 100,000 times. It seems she has quite a large fan base consisting of students from around the world.
The availability of these open courses raises numerous questions about who these courses were designed for, how they should be used by students at other universities and whether these courses are putting forth best practices in teaching. Indeed, for better or worse, it has made teaching more visible.
I hope you will click "comment" and provide your thoughts on the questions below or other issues concerning open course initiatives.
1. What is your general impression of the open course movement and would you be willing to put one or more of your courses in a similar system?
2. Have you ever sent your students to open course sites to get additional information in one or more of your courses?
3. What is likely to be the future of open course initiatives and how does this align with the growth of online courses at many universities?