Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Lessig coming to OpenLearn

I'm currently going through version 7 of the OpenLearn rendition of my old internet law course 'T182' based on Larry Lessig's book 'The Future of Ideas'. I'm sure there is probably at least one academic paper in the story of how an OU course which came off stream about 5 years ago and the short creative commons release of which triggered the creation of OpenLearn hasn't quite made it back to the outside world yet. It's a tale of politics and organisational infrastructure, architecture and systems choice, staff turnover and technology, openness and 'openness', the incompatibility different versions of XML and XML engines, DOS and web utilities, cutting, pasting and ordering, style and substance and a handful of dedicated individuals.

That was a longer than intended intro. to explain why I've been purusing some of Tony Hirst's old postings on OpenLearn which the latest review process have reminded me of. Most notably his take in Feb last year on The Problem With OpenLearn... I was stuck in particular this time by this:
"Anyway - is OpenLearn making right content available?, and is it just another document dump?

Who cares? The take home points for me about OpenLearn is that it makes available authentic distance educational material, some of it designed for online delivery, in an open format and under an open license."

He's right. I guess that is one of the reasons I've gone back time and again to the OpenLearn versions of T182 in various often incredibly frustrating attempts to get it put back together into a coherent whole. Good news is that the material is in better shape than any other previous OpenLearn version but I'm only part way through it and have so far noted a signficant volume of errors. But let's hope it is 7th time lucky and it will again see the light of day (or CC at least) in the none too distant future.

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