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Anya Kamenetz: New York Times Discovers Open Courseware

By Anya Kamenetz

I was so excited to open the Education Life section and see a whole article about free and open courseware, including reviews of individual courses and online, a sampler of popular lectures from MIT, Berkeley, and Yale.

The piece covers the news that broke at the Hewlett OER conference at Yale where I spoke last week. Hewlett has been instrumental in funding the open courseware movement to date. Now they are tightening their purse strings and also tightening their focus. They want to fund projects that focus on “deeper learning”, that improve teaching and learning practices, that track who participates and how they benefit, and that create “proof points” that can be taken to Washington, DC and to state legislatures and used to inform bigger policy programs.

Ultimately the vision is for publicly funded, evidence based education that is far more affordable and accessible than we see today.

The parallel movement of course as I talk about in the book is for self-learners and, even more exciting, self-organizing communities of learners to be able to take advantage of these resources to educate themselves, for free, outside the auspices of institutions.

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