Community colleges and high schools would receive federal funds to create free, online courses in a program that is in the final stages of being drafted by the Obama administration.
The program is part of a series of efforts to help community colleges reach more students and to link basic skills education to job training. The proposals are outlined in administration discussion drafts obtained by Inside Higher Ed. A formal announcement could come in the next few weeks. ...
John White, press secretary for the Education Department, said Sunday that the department would discuss the plans "when the time is right." He said that there is a lot of "high level discussion and excitement" around these ideas related to community colleges.
The funds envisioned for open courses -- $50 million a year -- may be small in comparison to the other ideas being discussed. But in proposing that the federal government pay for (and own) courses that would be free for all, as well as setting up a system to assess learning in those courses, and creating a "National Skills College" to coordinate these efforts, the plan could be significant far beyond its dollars.
The draft language suggests that the administration is throwing its weight behind the movement to put more courses online -- and offer them free -- and is also pushing that movement in the direction of community colleges. ...
According to the draft materials from the administration, the program would support the development of 20-25 "high quality" courses a year, with a mix of high school and community college courses. Initial preference would go to "career oriented" courses. The courses would be owned by the government and would be free for anyone to take. ...
While the program is described as one that emphasizes community colleges and high schools, it would be open to public agencies and to private for-profit or nonprofit groups.
Advocates for open courses guess that the proposal reflects the ideas of Martha J. Kanter, the under secretary of education. Kanter was previously chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. In that position, she helped to create the Community College Consortium for Open Education Resources, which has pioneered the idea of making textbooks and other course materials for community college students available free and online. ...
Gavin Baker at 7/01/2009 07:57:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.