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Open Curricula – the last frontier?

January 21st, 2012 by Graham Attwell

Open Educational Resources have taken off over the last two years or so. Open courses – especially MOOCs – are becoming ever more popular. And there is a growing focus on how we can develop more open forms of assessment.

These movements reflect a move away from expert driven development processes based largely on commercial interests towards more open processes based on practitioner and leaner input.

Yet their remains one big barrier to open education which is largely untouched – curricula. Curricula tend to remain the prerogative of experts – be they university working groups, assessment and accrediting bodies or governments.

In a time of rapid social economic and technological change, curricula can quickly go out of date. And expert driven curricula processes are usually extremely slow to respond to such change.

We have the technologies to collectively develop curricula. Wikis are powerful platforms for sharing ideas and co-production. We have the ideas based on the practice of teaching and training. We have the communities. Of course we have to look at the processes of developing open curricula. But above all the experts have to be prepared to give up power. And that is the hard bit. Until then, curricula will remain the last frontier in open education.


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