Friday, March 28, 2008

WEEK 4: Open Access Assessment and Accreditation

I found this week postings quite amazing. I found myself very aligned with all that Nichthus said and appreciated the perspective provided in the conclusion. In my mind a free culture is about honoring everyone and all positions and perspectives; this includes the closed and proprietary. I've been a follower / fan of Lessig’s work for some time now, and i think what he has done for copyright is a significant human contribution. And the reality / changes he is offering is well overdue in terms of copyright law...

I find this weeks exploration of copyright, licensing and OER happens at the right time in the progression of this course and all the readings got me thinking deeply about the similarities and differences of Open Content (Wikipedia), Open Source and OER. In particular, I spent considerable time thinking and discussing the Bissell / Boyle article. In their article they write about the success of Wikipedia and Open Source and the slower progress of OER. They offer three items to bring OER to a closer level of success that Wikipedia and Open Source have had. I believe they have missed a couple of aspects within the openness of OER, and it is missing these aspects they have missed identifying what is required to bring OER to the same level of success as these other two.

To explore this I believe we need to look at the permission required for accessing the domains of these three open initiatives. Neither Wikipedia nor Open Source has constraints to their domain. These two have complete openness from a technical, content, social, and bureaucratic (administrative) perspective. OER has openness to the technical, content and social, but is closed to the bureaucratic. What I mean by closed to the bureaucratic is that the assessment and accreditation is still closed. People can access all the open learning content that is available as OER but they still have to go through a bureaucracy to be assessed and accredited. I believe that until we have Open Access Assessment and Open Access Accreditation (OAA) OER will be severely restrained and should be renamed Open Learning Resources (OLR), because education includes assessment and accreditation. See an associated Google group discussion for further insight into my belief on the need for OAA.