One way of thinking about innovation is to measure the concept as creativity or new ideas successfully implemented. It is conceivable that the world could provide free (no cost) learning opportunities for all students worldwide -- however we are a long way from achieving these ideals.
Sir John Daniel prepared a short video called "Open but tough" for the inaugural meeting of the OER university. Worth a look. In this short introduction, Sir John advises that the OERu should not innovate beyond the capacity of society and the economy to accept the changes.
It's worth reflecting on a few historical innovations in the world of open education and how this might inform the planning of the OERu. Consider these examples:
|University of South Africa (Unisa)
||In 1946 became the world's first single-mode distance teaching university
||Academic structure, academic year, development process or entrance requirements.
|British Open University
||In 1969 the Open University abolished entrance requirements, shifted academic year to the calendar year and implemented a team approach for course development.
||Academic curriculum, assessment models.
|Empire State College (ESC), State University of New York
||In 1971 Ernst Boyer established the ESC introducing the "Open curriculum" where students could design individualised degrees, progressive credit transfer (RPL) and innovative student support services.
||Assessment and credentialing model (State University of New York credential), no major unbundling of serves
||Created by Alberta government in 1970, Athabasca would take credits awarded at multiple Canadian universities and award a degree making it possible to earn an AU degree by taking as little as one university course and implemented an open academic year allowing course enrolments every month. Also implemented the world's first open access University Press.
||Academic curriculum, assessment models
It's interesting to note that three of the four pioneers listed above are founding anchor partners of the OERu. Moreover, a significant difference of the OERu model is the idea of networked innovation. All post-secondary institutions are free to connect to the OERu node in the network.
A few questions for us to consider and think about:
- What do you consider to be the major innovations of the OERu?
- What are the possible innovations the OERu should consider for the future?
- Which of the innovations in 1 and 2 above will be "acceptable" to society and the economy?