The well reputed method of education at a distance may be seeing the humble beginnings of a wiki-style system. Is this the end of traditional education as we know it?
An article in the Times deals with a new trend that was spotted by a would-be student searching for alternative methods to gaining a degree. He found the Open Learn web site which as it’s name suggests, is directly associated to Open University. They state:
Broadening access to education is taken to another level with OpenLearn, our major new open content initiative. OpenLearn makes a range of OU educational resources freely available on the internet, with state-of-the-art learning support and collaboration tools to connect learners and educators.
The Times go on to state that Open Learn appear to be a natural evolution for OU because materials used in the paid courses are gradually being released for free. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the normal subscribed courses will be replaced, however, when you begin to see that Youtube and iTunes are also stock piling educational resources it does point to a serious departure into or in the direction of the “Wiki” zone, albeit a few light years away – but the light still reaches its destination.
There’s plenty of self-taught groups around now and considering the big tech guys are catching on to it the wheels are only going to get doused in a lot more oil now. So where does that leave the smaller fish who may have interesting content that could be used to boost or support parts of the curriculum?
Our video guides at iGuidez has always sought to concentrate on local interests, particularly in history and arts of buildings and landmarks. We believe that users will gradually turn to more localised resources because video content like ours could be viewed to support a topic on say monuments around Bologna. The problem, as is most common in the wiki world, is how to ensure that uploaded content is properly archived and researched. Similarly though, we also think that this will be met with equal vigor since, if education is going to be made more freely available then there will have to be more stringent measures put in place to combat education fraud.
The traditionalists are surely giong to be outraged but the price for progress whether wished for or not is being paid as we speak. Better to jump on board than go down with the ship!