Many fine folks and organizations are represented, like OpenStax, Gardner Campbell, Lee Skallerup, Robin DeRosa, Jeff McClurken, and more. It’s an exciting event, which I’m live-tweeting (hashtag #OERSummit).
Some themes and ideas that have come up so far (I’ll add more as I can): there’s a strong sense of open education working within a complex ecosystem. For example, community college adoption of OER depends on the behavior of institutions that most of their students transfer to. Another: individual faculty are often caught between publishers (so far, everyone here hates sales reps) and their tenure/hiring/promotion/review companies (strong sense of long-serving profs as obstacles).
A student panel (and why aren’t these mandatory for every education event?) described two undergraduates’ experiences with OER. Which were very positive, including love for low cost, easy access, simulation games (for one class). Students hated most things about traditional textbooks, and preferred renting to owning. Baby boomer faculty shared stories of the staggeringly cheap prices for their books, to the groans of younger folk.
I’m also presenting at this Summit, on the future of open education. That includes a set of scenarios. First, I’m presenting two extremes, worlds where open triumphs or where it fails. Here are the slides:
Second, I will break the audience into small groups, so that each could tackle a different scenario, presented in handouts. Although they faced separate futures, they all had to answer the same set of questions, also present on the handouts:
- What are the implications of these developments?
- How would you learn about them?
- How are you likely to respond?
- How would you share your response?
They’ll answer these questions themselves, then report out. The scenarios are called Government Push, A New Global Divide, Major Business Shift, and An Educational Divide Opens Us. Here they are:
GOVERNMENT PUSH After extensive political discussion, energetic campaign rhetoric, and energetic lobbying, the United States makes a major commitment to open education and open scholarship.
Offices throughout the federal government move to require open publication from anyone working with them. The Departments of Education and Labor announce large, long-term grants to support the creation of OER. Some state governments, including Virginia’s, follow suit.
This major government push is for both OER and open scholarship.
A NEW GLOBAL DIVIDE Open education and scholarship fails to take off in the developed world, but becomes very widespread in the developing.
Proprietary publishers rule the roost in OECD nations, including the United States, as open fails to win over faculty committees and scholarly societies, being seen as of unstable quality and an unreliable business model. In contrast developing nations both produce and consume open education and scholarship, widely, due to economic needs, state and NGO support, and increasingly accessible technology.
Both sections of the world are in increasing contact thanks to globalization and technological advances.
MAJOR BUSINESS SHIFT In major business news, publishers Elsevier and Pearson appear to be entering bankruptcy. Their revenue streams have been declining for several years, as students, faculty, and staff shifted purchasing to open access and open education. Profits have collapsed.
Other major publishers are facing the same challenges, but haven’t yet hit the same wall. Members of Congress have floated the possibility of federal aid.
AN EDUCATIONAL DIVIDE OPENS UP Open education has become the leading way schools assign content in primary and secondary schools, but the opposite is true in colleges and universities.
K-12 schools steadily, then rapidly adopted OER as purchasing budgets remained tight or declined. Open became especially attractive to schools in poorer tax areas. State government support further boosted open’s advances in public K-12 schools. In contrast, post-secondary faculty are generally unconvinced that open materials and scholarship are of sufficient quality to be adopted.
I’m curious to see how participants react to each of these scenarios. Which will they deem most likely to occur? What parts of their worlds will they connect with them?