The work of education in the age of E-College

Chris Werry

Abstract


There has recently been a mad rush by universities, venture capitalists and corporations to develop online courses, virtual universities, education portals, and courseware. The drive to develop a winning formula for commercial online education has fostered some unusual partnerships. This paper provides a broad overview of some models of online education that have been developed by commercial and academic institutions. It examines some of the rhetorical strategies that have been used to talk about online education by commercial groups, and discusses some of the hopes and fears that have been associated with online instruction by academics, administrators, and businesspeople. The paper outlines some of the main players and positions involved in debates about online education, and suggests some strategies that academic groups ought to explore. In particular, the author argues that academics need something an open source movement for academic resources, akin to the Free Software Foundation. This 'Free Courseware Foundation' would give teachers greater control of their resources, and better enable them to share materials with other teachers and with the public.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v6i5.858



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