Barriers to Open Education

Graham Attwell makes a good point here that one of the biggest barriers to the further expansion of open education is to open up curricula. Curricula are increasingly snapshots in time of the (common denominator?) views of experts be they universities, governments, qualification agencies, professional bodies etc.

In a time of rapid social economic and technological change, curricula can quickly go out of date. And expert driven curricula processes are usually extremely slow to respond to such change.

The conclusion made is that its the experts need to be prepared to give up some of their authority/ power but it is also the institutions themselves. Professional bodies, qualifications agencies, universities, etc. still see competitive advantage in holding onto curricula and so do their ‘customers’, that the business of qualifications includes buying into a specific status that depends on a degree of ‘closedness’. Qualifications are more then just about learn but also about social status, access to employment opportunities etc. (see this post in relation to a similar perspective on VLEs & PLEs) and that can mean that the ‘customer base’ (students) are as big a barrier to the expansion of open education as the experts.

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