Sharing inspiration for bringing ideas to life!
It was an honor to receive one of this year’s Sloan-C Fellow awards and it gave me an occasion to reflect on 23 years in online learning. This month was the 10th anniversary of the Open Education Conference and the 19th anniversary of the Sloan Consortium’s International Conference on Online Learning.
The Annenberg/CPB New Pathways to a Degree grant started me on this path in 1991. Rochester Institute of Technology was one of 7 institutions in the U.S. to deliver a complete undergraduate program “online.” Sally Johnstone, Ellen Wagner, Steve Ehrmann and many others from that time are still doing the good work that is bringing online learning into the mainstream.
New Pathways was just a year or so before Frank Mayadas started funding projects that would become the Sloan Consortium. Frank saw the potential of the anytime/anywhere form of distance education called “Asynchronous Learning” and put many things in place that created a strong foundation for its growth. He defined the quality pillars and funded important effectiveness research. He started the peer-reviewed Journal for Asynchronous Learning, the collection of best practices, the annual conference and the annual survey. See the new book Leading the e-Learning Transformation of Higher Education for the story.
The Open Education Conference, where I was privileged to keynote, was started by David Wiley, a decade or so after Frank’s work was underway. This event focuses on open content and the unbundling of formal learning. It’s here that I saw what I think is the next wave of innovation: platforms directly to jobs and to degrees with no intermediaries required – Amazon-like marketplaces that track and also bundle up and create value out of your records in the form of jobs and credentials. Beyond competencies, beyond badges, beyond portfolios and way beyond flipped classrooms and MOOCs – this is ground-breaking capability we have here.
What will we do with it? Here is my storify about it: