New talk in Chinese: Understanding the meaning of open education, expanding the definition of OER

May 25, 2009, [MD]

I was kindly invited by Professor Chang to give a presentation to the department of education at Minzu University of China (formerly called Central University of Nationalities). I never like to give the same talk twice, so although I reused some of the materials from my talk at South China Normal, I redesigned the talk quite a bit. I decided to focus more on Open Access, since I think it's so important in China, and I also introduced Ivan Illich and deschooling society. In a country that is obsessed by formal education, and is currently undergoing probably the most rapid expansion of higher education that the world has ever seen, this might be seen as quite subversive.

However, I was not on my pulpit preaching, rather I think his texts give us a lot of food for thought. And the fact that it was written in the 1970's reinforces my belief that the really difficult part with online learning - especially collaborative - is the "software", ie the social practices and structures, rather than the "hardware", ie. the technology.

I got a fair number of good questions from the students after the talk. The talk went on for a bit over an hour, and we spent maybe an hour more discussing, after a small break. It's great to have that much time available to really probe something in-depth.

In addition to Illich (whose books are available in full-text, but sadly not the Chinese translation), I've been reading up on different sociological theories on the value of schooling lately for a paper I was co-authoring, and found much that is extremely relevant to open education (especially in its more radical intonations). I need to spend more time thinking through this later, and maybe it could be come a paper in itself.

The entire talk (but not the subsequent discussion) is available below in audio, synced with slides. You can also directly download the audio (mp3, ogg).

理解开放教育的意义 突破教育资源的限定

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Stian Håklev May 25, 2009 Toronto, Canada
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