4 talks from leaders in higher ed on the future of open education

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Open education resources


Openness has become the new standard for content and software across a variety of initiatives in higher education. Open source software, open education, open educational resources, open access publishing, open analytics, open data, open science, and open humanities have matured to challenge, even dominate, the global educational landscape.

Those of us working with open projects know how important it is to contribute experiences of best practice, develop common understanding, and share strategic direction, in order to better facilitate communication and synchronization across the emerging open landscape. To that end, the Apereo Foundation—an open source software community of over 100 institutions of higher education—along with the Open Source Initiative and Red Hat organized the first Open Summit.

The Summit was held at New York University in late May and included speakers from across a variety of open initiatives and communities: faculty teaching open source principles and practices; researchers creating open data and techniques to promote collaboration; campus staff developing open source projects in support of teaching and learning; librarians curating open educational resources; university administrators cultivating open governance models.

Jim Whitehurst keynote at Open Summit 2016

Photo collage of Whitehurst's keynote at Open Summit by Patrick Masson

Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat and author of The Open Organization set the tone and defined the scope of the Open Summit with his keynote, The Future of Education is Open. Whitehurst highlighted the broader and more impactful aspects of "open" in education, beyond just a distribution model: how interaction—active, participatory, self-governing—enables the creation of better content and ensures its sustainability. He noted, for the general public, "open education" is often simply a discussion around free (as in no-cost) content, and how organizations can find and share those works. Throughout the keynote, Whitehurst challenged the audience to expand their perception of open, beyond just free, to opening the organization itself, to cultivate participation and co-creation: "How do we use the power of open participation to actually create better content?" In doing so, how must campus culture and organization behave, and even change, to "trust the power of participation," allowing the best people to work together, to create better content?

The event provided a wealth of information, presented by a who's who of thought leaders and doers from not only the open source software and open education communities, but across the higher education landscape as well. The sessions included inspirational stories and triumphant accomplishments that are sure to inform and inspire your own efforts.

If you're interested in understanding the value proposition of open educational resources, or introducing open initiatives on your campus, these videos will provide insights from those who are actively engaging with both open communities of practice and their institutions.

The value of adopting and participating in open initiatives

  • Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
  • Simon Hodson, Executive Director, Committee on Data for Science and Technology
  • Ben Kallos, Council Member, New York City
  • Margaret Mellinger, Director of Emerging Technologies and Services, Oregon State University Library
  • Ken Udas, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Chief Information Officer University of Southern Queensland

The open start-up: Introducing, implementing and integrating open initiatives on campus

  • Deb Bryant, Board Director, Open Source Initiative
  • Joel Barciauskas, Engineering Manager, Open Source, Open edX
  • Dianna Fisher, Director of Open Oregon State, Oregon State University
  • Stephen Jacobs, Professor of Interactive Games and Media & Associate Director of the MAGIC Center
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Beth Harris, Co-Founder, Smarthistory & Emeritus Faculty, Khan Academy

Open learning: Shaping the future

  • Martin Dougiamas, Founder Moodle & CEO, Moodle Pty Ltd
  • Alexander N. Cartwright, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, State University of New York
  • Chuck Severance, Chair, Sakai Project Management Committee
  • George Siemens, Professor & Executive Director LINK Research Lab
  • Joseph Ugoretz, Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning and Technology, Macaulay Honors College, CUNY

Extending openness: Cultivating collaboration, co-creation, and community

  • Ian Dolphin, Executive Director, Apereo Foundation
  • Beth Harris, Co-Founder, Smarthistory & Emeritus Faculty, Khan Academy
  • Michael Feldstein, Partner at MindWires Consulting, Co-Publisher of e-Literate, and Co-Producer of e-Literate TV
  • Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director , Open Education Consortium
  • Deb Nicholson, Director of Community Outreach The Open Invention Network

Understanding the broad application of open educational resources—from software and data to textbooks and research—and the impact of "the open ethos" on academic institutions, is critical for educational leaders as openly licensed resources and the communities that manage them continue to influence the education sector. Planning is underway for Open Summit 2017. We invite you to join us. As Jim Whitehurst said, "trust the power of participation."

Stay tuned: Opensource.com will publish a Back to School series the week of August 22.

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Patrick Masson (@massonpj) is currently serving as the General Manager for the Open Source Initiative after working within higher education IT for over twenty years, ranging in roles from Programmer Analyst at UCLA, to Chief Technology Officer in the University of Massachusetts' Office of the President.Patrick also teaches within the College of Computing and Information at the State University


These are great talks. Thanks for sharing this.

Being in education industry for a while, I completely agree. Thanks for your thoughts Patrick.

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