Open Educational Resources and the Obama Administration

1st May 20116:17 am

Kevin Carey, the Public Policy Director for Education Sector, an independent think tank in Washington, DC, has the best coverage yet of what I’ve been up to recently. Excerpt:

In the late days of March 2010, Congressional negotiators dealt President Obama’s community-college reform agenda what seemed like a fatal blow. A year later, it appears that, remarkably, the administration has fashioned the ashes of that defeat into one of the most innovative federal higher-education programs ever conceived. Hardly anyone has noticed….

The concept is simple: Community colleges that compete for federal money to serve students online will be obliged to make those materials – videos, text, assessments, curricula, diagnostic tools, and more – available to everyone in the world, free, under a Creative Commons license. The materials will become, to use the common term, open educational resources, or OER’s….

For its part, the Education Department hired someone with an unusual resume for a federal bureaucrat: Hal Plotkin, a community college trustee and veteran Silicon Valley journalist who has covered business, education, and technology for outlets like CNBC, Forbes, and Inc. Plotkin is no utopian, having heard more than his share of overheated claims about the wonders of technology. Yet he says the program will create “the greatest expansion of access to high-quality education and job-training opportunities in the history of the world.”

Read the rest of Kevin’s column here.