Wide Open Spaces - The Pros and Cons of Open Education

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Wide Open Spaces: the Pros and Cons of Open Education

Open Education

Definition: the institutional practices and initiatives that broaden access to learning and training through formal educational systems.

Major Players:
OERs (Open Educational Resources) are used primarily for the remixing and modularization of educational elements.


MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) are offered by some of the nations preeminent universities for free and to massive audiences.
Whether you like it or not, we’ve moved into wide open spaces.

Pros: Open Education is Online

Making it easy to scale
Average Private College Student Body: 1,920[3] Average Student Body for All Universities: 6,154[4] Total enrollment in Harvard’s Introduction to Computer Science MOOC: 348,500 [5]

More Iterative

And More Interactive

Common features of Open Education:

Instant Assessment Tools
Online Communities
Live Feedback
Student Services
Data Backpacks

Cons: Demographic Woes

Are they really removing barriers to higher education?
Most common characteristics for Harvardx and MITx students
[as percentage of all students] [5] 71% Bachelor’s and Above
76% Above 30 years old
69% Male

Educational attainment of incoming Canvas Network Students:[9] 33%: less than bachelor’s degree
19%: bachelor’s degree
37%: master’s degree
11%: doctoral degree

What does it mean to “reach” millions of participants?

An estimated 4% of MOOC participants finish their course.[6]

Number of students accessing more than half of a given MITx or Harvardx course[2]

Total: 1.4 million
Accessing more than half: 249k

Future Hurdles

Open education is expected to continue to grow if the following can be dealt with:

Identity Verification is Important for:

Institutional Credibility
Federal Requirements
Accreditation Requirements
Student achievement

Current Processes:

Challenge Questions are created by publicly available data on students, to verify identity.
Video proctoring involves having your webcam turned on during testing, with real proctors watching.
Biometrics including fingerprinting, retina scans, and voice recognition are currently being created.
Proctoring software can often track student fingerprints or the rhythm with which students answer questions.

Instructional Quality is Important for: [7]
Accreditation Requirements
Student Engagement
Better Outcomes

Current Best Practices: [8]
Learning Contracts
Small Group Work
Project-based education
Collaborative Learning

But don’t ask us. It’s a market game.

[polls of current/former students][9] Reasons students take courses (all that apply):
76% interesting topic
75% because it was free
61% professional development
44% to discover what MOOCs are about

How many students would take another MOOC if it Cost…[10] $1: 64%
$5: 49%
$10: 44%
$25: 34%
$100: 18%

View of Businesses:[11] 57% of organizations can see using MOOCs for Recruitment Purposes
71% of organizations can see using MOOCs for professional development purposes
View of University Presidents :[12] [ranked 1-5, where one is strongly disagrees and 5 is strongly agrees]

MOOCs can…
Improve the learning of all students:
1: 28%
2: 31%
3: 24%
4: 10%
5: 3%

Get superior teachers in front of more students:
2: 22%
4: 22%
5: 7%

Foster creative pedagogical strategies:
1: 10%
2: 17%
3: 27%
4: 32%
5: 11%