ICDE: Hal Plotkin - ODL and Human Capacity Building

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Patrick McAndrew
2 October 2011

Hal Plotkin brought personal greeting from Barack Obama as well as the vice president and Secretary of State for Education Martha Kanter. Hal brought his personal story that had also set the scene at a previous Hewlett conference http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/3345.

Hal went on to describe the adoption of a policy by the College where he was on the boad to adopt and improve free and open resources. The result was may faculty members volunteering to engage with this initiative - based on the enthusiasm and motivations of those in education. Foothills then produced the first fully articulated free and open statistics course, hence saving stundents collectively over $1m in saving them text book costs.

The programme of work under the Trade Act has announced $500m of grants in the first wave of $2bn of funding that is the biggest investment in open content as all the content must be shared and released under CC-BY. Hal Plotkin widened the invitation to participate alongside those involved in the grant. [This includes our own partner Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.]

The percentage of people who have the opportunity to take part in the "best" of higher education. His guess is that less than 5% have the chance to do this - while in that 95% who have no chance there is much missed potential.

A perhaps surprising result of the adoption of OER is that there are also improvements to the teaching process. His possible reasons include that students hold on to all the free resources rather than sell the expensive learning materials and sharing and collaboration on how to teach and spreading practice beyond classrooms.

He also related the meeting of the Mozilla Foundation's work on badges launched at the Mozilla Drumbeat conference in Barcelona last year. The potential for the online badging to replace the certification of higher education is a possibility, if not a certainty. http://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges

Hal finished by describing the holographic projection system that are now appearing that could be used to allow three-d representations to be transferred as tele-presence further changing what we think of a distance education - becoming simply "education". He described this as the chance to make the biggest change to education in the entire hostory of the world.

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