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At the height

October 20, 2008

of last year’s troubles, a few of us made bleak jokes about moving outside the city to live off the land, and instituting an open university. Well, looks as though our idea was anticipated — several times over — by institutions infinitely more illustrious than our projected Open University of the Kingston Peninsula (OUKP)(pronounced “ook-pee”): Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Open University, Oxford, Stanford, Tufts, UN Berkeley, and UC Irvine, among many others, all have scads of courses freely available.

Be sure to check out the OpenCoursewareConsortium, which links to such initiatives as the Peoples Open Access Education Initiative: Peoples-uni: “Building Public Health capacity using Internet-based e-learning.”

Here is one of the newest initiatives: “Proponents of Online Education Plan to Start Peer-to-Peer University,” Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education (Oct. 24/08). This plan is interesting in many respects, one of which is the stated possibility that institutions might recognize some of the courses for transfer credit. At this point it is not much more than a website, but it bears watching. Here is a link to an interview with one of the founders.

These initiatives are all very exciting. Not for profit, they are part of the true ethos of the internet: information freely available to all who seek it. Meritus, be very afraid.

Given the competition, it’s probably a good thing we didn’t have to go ahead with OUKP. But it would have been something …

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