Real Punks ShipPosted: November 18, 2008
So that was the title I was tempted to throw on the recent post over at OCWBlog. It seemed impolitic over there, but if you are stopping by here, you know me and the spirit it’s offered in.
The heart of the OCWBlog post is this graph:
I’ve been frankly a little surprised, since signing on at OCWC, at the rift between the edubloggers and the OCW community. A lot of edubloggers seem to think that people in the OCW community just don’t get the larger picture. And a lot of people in the OCW community think the edubloggers talk too much and produce too little.
I can say with confidence that both of those perceptions are completely wrong. The edubloggers I know have slogged long and hard to get real things done. And people in the OCW community don’t claim OCW is the be-all/end-all of open education. Sometimes dedication to an idea requires analysis, sometimes just blood, sweat, and tears. The people I have met doing OCW implementations at their institutions are some of the brightest, most self-analytical, big picture people I have had the pleasure of knowing — they’ve just decided, for the moment, to channel that energy into production and institutional change.
And yes, some people are great at the grassroots piece, some are great at the institutional piece. But we’re insane if we believe that only the grassroots piece of that equation is producing “real change”. Which is what I’ve been hearing lately, in exactly those terms, in twitters, blogs, the comments on blogs (particularly the comments, actually), and emails.
As the graph shows, that claim is probably verifiably false. Most of that big swath of red there is not grant-funded, most of that red swath does not represent rich institutions, and most of it represents initiatives committed to continuing even in the face of this economic downturn. And all of it is accomplished by people who turned at least part of their attention to aligning the institution with open education goals.
If that’s not real change, what is?
We’re lucky, as a movement, to have people approaching this issue from both the bottom-up and top-down. In my experience it’s the combination of those two approaches that gets change done. So let’s rejoice in that, and not see it as a burden.