One of the comments I got in the evaluations from an open education session I did at this year’s ASAE annual meeting was that it would have been good to have an example from the association world. No doubt I had already put this person to sleep when I got to the slide with the National Science Teachers Association, so I thought it would be good to immortalize that example here as a Web link. Knowledge conveyed during meeting sessions can be so ephemeral.
Of course, part of the point of my session was that only a handful of innovative thinkers like the NSTA have embraced open education so far in the association world – or, for that matter, anywhere outside of academia or the NGO sector. In fact, I am hard pressed to find another example. I am betting, however, that will change in the not-too-distant future. Not because it would be a good thing to do – thought that is certainly a good thing for any organization with a mission related to serving the public good- but because market forces will make it happen.”Opening up” will be a necessary strategy for attracting and retaining customers, and it has the added benefit, when done well, of spurring diversity of input and inspiring innovation.
I’ve written about the topic at some length in Can Open Education Work for Associations, so I won’t dwell on it here. Pointing out the NSTA example, however, also gives me the opportunity to point out a related phenomenon that is bubbling up. Namely, open accreditation.
The wide variety of high quality educational resources now available on the Web for re-use and re-mixing, whether by individuals or institutions, raises new questions about how effective engagement with these resources can be validated. How do I know – as an employer, for example – that you really went through everything Stanford Engineering Everywhere has to offer and actually got something of value out of it?
There are no firm answers to this question yet, but an interesting conversation is under way. Like open education in general, I don’t yet see many signs of this creeping into the association world, but organizations that engage in any sort of accreditation may want to put an ear to the ground. There may be threats here, but more likely I think there are opportunities for those who are thinking innovatively. Here are a few links into the conversation:
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