Creating Higher Education Academic and Information Technology Resources in an International Context
Computers in the Schools Volume 27, Number 3, ISSN 0738-0569
A number of contemporary factors have combined to create a situation that encourages and supports international collaboration among institutions of higher education. Factors such as the globalization of the economy, the increasingly international nature of higher education, and the development of an inexpensive and virtually worldwide system of communication, the Internet, have all played their part. This paper focuses on one aspect of international collaboration--the creation and dissemination of information resources and information/educational technologies, such as software. Movements such as Open Source and Open Access have encouraged colleges and universities to consider alternatives to the dominant model for acquiring everything from college textbooks to academic computing software. Today for-profit companies supply most such resources to institutions, faculty, and students. The open source software approach is an alternative based on collaboration between both institutions and individuals, and it is a viable alternative to commercial, for-profit development and dissemination systems. Today, open access journals, for example, compete with journals from commercial publishers and provide free access to anyone via the Internet. Resources such as the courseware management system, Moodle, and the multipurpose software package, Sakai, are examples of open source software-developed resources that are widely used today in higher education. The OpenCourseware initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an example of free and open dissemination of course resources. Variations of the open source software model support the creation of everything from infrastructure software such as Sakai to remixable textbooks. Remixing is, in fact, a major advantage of the approach Connexions, based at Rice University, has taken to create information resources for educational use. Open access, open source, and other similar approaches can be subsumed under the term open education. That movement is a viable, and rapidly growing, alternative for the creation and distribution of information and information technology resources for higher education that is particularly suited to collaborative, international partnerships. (Contains 2 figures.)
Baron, J., Willis, J. & Lee, R.A. (2010). Creating Higher Education Academic and Information Technology Resources in an International Context. Computers in the Schools, 27(3), 288-308.