Open Ed’s Not-Quite 95 Theses

We’re not planning to nail it to President Samuelson’s door just yet, but our class discussion on the evolving value proposition of open education yielded some intriguing results.

The premise here is that in order to remain viable, let alone accomplish its admittedly lofty goals, this next generation of open educational resources and practices must offer something to the institutions that support it beyond warm fuzzies…or positive PR…or 5-year infusions of funding. In short, it’s got to make a difference in the education of current, fee-paying, sitting-in-the-classroom students or the axe won’t stay hovering for long.

So what can openness offer the on-campus student? Here’s a start:

  • Better material used in courses
  • Faster/cheaper course development
  • Improved access to content (device-driven and adaptable)
  • Explicit connections/access to background material (instead of just saying “you remember linear algebra…right?” the instructor can actually link back to the foundational material from a previous course. Students with such access may even perform better in advanced courses.)
  • Increased efficiency in academic advisement (students can take on many of these functions themselves–more information up-front about a course will lead to lower drop rates, less time lost to resulting schedule inefficiencies and lower administrative costs.)
  • Faculty modeling critical skills of collaboration and team work.

Welcome to Fall semester 2008

Boy this one has hit me upside the head. There are at least a half-dozen plausible explanations, but frankly I am too behind at the moment to make excuses.

I’m back at BYU. Taking some fabulous classes from some truly remarkable professors, [some others of whom have yet to develop much of a web presence :)] In several of said fabulous classes, we’ve been asked to blog [or journal] our way through the semester, beginning as always with introductions. In the interest of time, and space in your feed-readers, I am going to attempt to cover all of these introductions under the following title: “What My Fall08 Semester Schedule Says About Me”

The first thing you’ll likely notice is that all the course numbers in my schedule start with a 5, 6, or 7. That’s because I am a grad student.

Next, you’ll notice that there are quite a few of them…probably more than any reasonable person would take, and probably more than my wise advisors advised. That’s because I am crazy…and sometimes not very good at taking advise.

Then, you might be puzzled as to why half of the classes start with MBA, and half with IPT. This is because I do much better with people than things, or even ideas, and I’m fascinated by courses like “Third World Development,” “Designing and Leading Teams,” and “Power, Influence and Negotiation.” I want to change the world.

Knowing that, some of the other courses might puzzle you still more; “Web Analytics” and “New Media and Learning” for example. I’m taking these courses because I am repenting. For years now, I have quite purposefully, and I might now say rather arrogantly and short-sightedly, passed off all responsibility for the 1’s and 0’s side of all this remarkable technology to someone else…anyone else. I recognize now that I have a responsibility of basic technological literacy that I have let slide in the name of “doing what you’re good at,” and I am really trying to eat crow fresh…plus, the courses are actually very interesting.

Lastly, though I don’t think you could get this from the schedule, Fall 2008 says that I still love to learn. I love being challenged. I love feeling my brain stretch when someone suggests a perspective I’ve never thought of. I love the way that all the truths from metatags to metaphysics somehow weave themselves together into my heart and change me. I love the power and potential of this community I’ve been welcomed into. It’s going to be a great game.


Started classes on Tuesday. Yep. I’m still a freak. I love them. I’m intrigued by new new classmates, excited by new opportunities and energized by the feeling of intellectual synergy that permeates campus the first week of classes. I am glad to be here.

But every now and then something [a freshman speckled with tiny moles on his face like Araujo, the sliced lime sticker on the back of someone’s shiny new macbook, the smell of chalk] will trip my hypersensitive synapses and I feel my heart reaching, grasping, squeezing through my ribs for….what? For Paraguay? For my students, my friends? For this whole idea and what it could be…

It hurts a little.