Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, May 16, 2008

Call for open courseware in UK universities

Leo Max Pollak, Open Source and the Benefits of Education, report, undated but apparently recent. Apparently a preprint of "Free Higher Education course materials for all" as published in the current issue of Public Policy Research. See the description by Anthea Lipsett, Teach online to compete, British universities told, The Guardian, May 13, 2008:

Universities should make their course materials freely available online, according to a paper for the latest edition of ppr, the publication of influential thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The researcher and activist Leo Pollak argues that UK universities lag behind in providing course materials online but could innovate more than their US competitors.

The government should establish a central online "hub" where taxpayers could easily access British university course materials, he says. ...

Online learners should also be able to pay a fee to take the same exams as enrolled students in order to get an "open degree course" qualification, which would require passing an Open Access Act through parliament to establish. ...

The vast majority of materials can be reproduced at "negligible cost", Pollak says, and universities in the US, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), already publish online much of its undergraduate and postgraduate course materials, from 90% of its professors.

The Open University's OpenLearn programme is the UK's sole offering, according to Pollak. UK universities must "keep up", he says, and offering course materials freely online would affirm and strengthen "Britain's standing as a beacon of intellectual development and cultural collaboration". ...

See also the author's blog on the subject.