The open learning movement has taken the world by storm, especially in the area of higher education. The possibilities of the internet seem endless and innovators and ed techs are constantly creating tools and coming up with ideas to make learning more accessible and at a lesser cost. But the established institutions are not taking this threat lightly. They have acknowledged open education but have worked their way into it and have set up proprietary rights. Jim Groom and Brian Lamb in their article, Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle have warned about the dangers of this infiltration and the overt and covert means that are used.
Jim Groom, coined the term “Edupunk” in 2008,
to describe the growing movement toward high-tech do-it-yourself education, independent from traditional institutionally controlled venues and commercial tools, such as Powerpoint or Blackboard and other closed Learning Management Systems. According to Groom, “Edupunk … is about the utter irresponsibility and lethargy of educational institutions and the means by which they are financially cannibalizing their own mission.”
Related to the term edupunk is the concept of DO IT YOURSELF (DIY), which is bypassing the established educational institutions and using the resouces of the internet to educate oneself and learning from others online.The idea is to be independent of all the commercial aspects of education and become more responsible for one’s own learning. Because of this growing influence of open education, colleges are being forced to adapt and some have begun to offer courses online free of charge , such as those offered by MIT named on OPENCOURSEWARE.
The idea of collaborating with others is an integral part in the open education system but not everyone agrees completely. One such person is the New York Times columnist, Susan Cain, in her article, The Rise of the New Groupthink , calls for the return to the individual effort and claims that many creative ideas are the result of people working by themselves and not in groups. This is contrary to what Jim Groom is saying. The relatively new offering online of the course entiled “DS 106”, goes against what Susain Cain is proposing.
It is worth noting that open education is now a prevalent idea in places such as New Zealand, Canada, China and other parts of the world. We in the United States sometimes tend to be parochial in our thinking but the internet is a world wide phenomenon and ideas emanate from just about any location.