Innovation or Replication?

June 1, 2013 § 1 Comment

Why those excited by the Stanford & edX open source platform collaboration (and many other “open” initiatives) don’t get it. It’s “reuse, revise, remix, redistribute,” not “reinvent, redo, redundant, replace.” The below article appeared just this week, in 2004 [May, 2014].

Sakai Project [EdX] launches groundbreaking open source collaboration

By Nancy Connell of News Service [Patrick Masson]

The Sakai Project [EdX], a landmark venture to create open-source course management tools and related software for the higher education community, has been launched by a consortium of four [three]universities, with U-M [Stanford] in a leading role.

The project—a collaboration of U-M with Indiana [Harvard University], the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford—will release its first software next summer. It has received a $2.4 [$60] million grant from the Mellon Foundation and $300,000 from the Hewlett foundation in funding, and it has attracted the interest of at least 13 additional colleges and universities since its launch in December [May of 2012], says Joseph Hardin [Anant Agarwal], director of the Sakai [edX] project.

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OSS Watch launches Open Source Options for Education Index

January 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

Mark Johnson recently posted to the Moodle Forums an announcement of the creation of the “Open Source Options for Education” index to compliment the UK Cabinet Office’s Open Source Procurement Toolkit.

I’ve been in this really good MOOC for the past 20 years, it’s called “The Internet.”

August 1, 2012 § 12 Comments

I’d like to suggest a great MOOC that has been around for years. It is “massive” (nearly a half million members); it is open–as in free (no charge); it is open–as in anyone can participate (no enrollment requirements/restrictions); it is open–as in shareable/reusable (there is no copyright: all content by all contributors is in the public domain); it is open–as in community driven (topics and direction are self-organized by peers); it is open–as in transparent (all information is available to all); it’s online (, and it provides over 200 “courses” (tutorials, resources and related discussions) across a variety of areas:
– Applications / GUI / Multimedia
– Hardware
– Networking
– Programming
– Security

Some of the programming tutorials include: Beginning with Java; BSD Sockets programming in C with examples; Building C programs on Linux; Building C++ programs on Linux; Emacs for an IDE, etc.

There is even a process for credentialing where peers rate the activities of others in order to establish users’ reputations. Those who provide helpful insights are rewarded, while those who offer less helpful support get neutral or even negative reputations. This peer to peer assessment model is something many MOOCs are struggling with.

So why isn’t this recognized as a MOOC? The cynic in me says, well because MOOC’s are really marketing tools to promote a university’s “innovation,” garner financial support (e.g. grants, investment funding, etc.) and/or drive online enrollments (i.e. take a MOOC, then enroll in a “real” course). Why does every college or university need a MOOC or other OCW/OER initiative, rather than really take advantage of the openness of shared resources to enhance, contribute and redistribute?

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