I am wearing many hats, and now I speak as a parent. I am a member of several parent networks for supporting children working at the college level. Professors are usually happy to have motivated and successful students regardless of the age - but college administrators make it difficult or impossible to happen.
In the US, there is a way for children to achieve college degrees by combining CLEP certificates, AP exams, distance learning courses that don't discriminate, and accreditation from places such as Thomas Edison State College. However, the process is far from smooth or straightforward, and not all degrees are available.
Children and young teens, and moreover most motivated and successful learners among them, are very poorly served by the existing college education system. Can OER university help?
That's a good question. Clearly OER is equally relevant to K12 as it is to post-secondary education. In the US, for example, The Open High School of Utah is an excellent example of a school curriculum based on OER.
Here in New Zealand, the OER Foundation is collaborating with the school sector with support from the Ministry of Education to encourage the development of reusable and portable content as OER. Also, a representative from Te Kura (New Zealand's distance education school) will be joining the face-to-face meeting on the 23rd to explore how OER may be relevant for school-level distance education. So while the planning meeting has a strong post secondary focus -- we must consider how this integrates with secondary.
A little closer to home, my son is finishing his final school year (Year 13 in New Zealand) and he will be taking one university-level paper possible under New Zealand's national qualifications framework. It would have been great if this course was available as OER.
So I agree - -the OER university concept should explore articulation between secondary and post-secondary. Good suggestion.
I would like to see OER university - the undergraduate and graduate levels of it - to be open to children. Mostly, what is needed for that to happen is just saying "No" to age restrictions. There are some national regulations about children under 13 online that may need to be considered, though.
Best of success to your son! It is exciting that our kids will have projects like this available to them.
Good points Wayne, and also let us recognise that New Zealand’s Te Kura (previously known as The Correspondence School) also has a significant percentage of adults on its role undertaking school level qualifications some for foundation for university study. The ability for adults to address gaps in their education as a preparation for study at university must be something that every university addresses that wishes for equity in student achievement.
Research of the online K-12 school systems and related preparation of teachers could also be of value to the OER university movement (I can point you to lots of it!). It has been most active in the last few years in USA where growth has been exponential and linked with state/national requirements. Most often new organisations (virtual schools) have emerged to partner with existing 'brick and mortar' schools. I was involved with the start up of Iowa Learning Online (Iowa’s online school that takes the form of a brokerage, plus shortage courses of its own). There the accreditation process continued to reside in the K-12 schools and the state, maybe still does, and the online school had had equitable impact none the less. Initially the vision was for essentially OER (before we had the term), but funding pressured that to change. The biggest and most influential school, the public Florida Virtual School, markets its courses and professional development to diversify its funding stream.
That’s enough on this topic from me just now! Happy to say more if prompted!
We have good experience on which to build. The next step is to "open source" these experiences for the benefit of society ;-)
Here is a prompt - do you have experience with minors (let's say, fifteen year old and under) working on college degrees?
1. For the time being, we can think of just beginning from Post Graduate courses inspite of other lower levels.
2. Every learner of OERU must be provided with a Laptop by the university/state.
3. More emphasis must be towards self-motivated learning.
4. Our joint endeavours should be towards providing Free education and Free certifications to all irrespective of any constraints.