Posted by: rmostell | April 2, 2010

Open Course Ware (OCW) in the news again

Nothing has really changed in the past year – just more pages, more money and the same pretense that OCW is providing any type of education.

Previous post: Is Open Course Ware really Open or Free?

New York Times article by By JINGYING YANG
Published: March 30, 2010

A couple of quotes:

“For an annual cost of $125,000, or a mere 0.05 percent of the university’s $226 million budget, Utah State’s four-year-old OpenCourseWare program attracted 550,000 page views last year, making it one of the most popular in the United States, according to Marion Jensen, its former director.”

I assume that there are a few zeros missing.  550,000 page views in a year is not very much web traffic.  I don’t think $125,000 represents the true cost of generating the content, perhaps only the cost of maintaining the content on a web server.

James D. Yager, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, says OCW “is not the full university experience: We don’t offer the course for free, we offer the content for free.”

I agree completely with Professor Yager, content (information) is not an education.  Learning to  use information intelligently is an education.

“Professor James C. Taylor at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, has been working on a similar program. He wants to take it a step further by setting up an online community of academic volunteers who would interact with students the way professors do in the classroom.”

Sounds like Wikipedia to me.  “Volunteer” experts are worth what you pay for them.  i.e. there is No Free Lunch!

Stay tuned …

My list of Open Learning Resources:



  1. […] I had a new problem I couldn’t figure out when I created the “Open Course Ware (OCW) in the news again” blog on April 2, 2010. Whenver I created line breaks between paragraphs, they would […]

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