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Vision 2018

Vision 2018

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Published by Andreas Meiszner
I really wonder how education might look like in 10 years from now. I just received a mail from Debbie in OZ who was impressed by the NetGeners.Net approach (www.netgeners.net), that builds upon the work of our FLOSSCom project (www.flosscom.net). Well I do have my very own vision on 10 years from now, but from a vivid chat with some colleagues at IET, I understand that there seem to be many hurdles that must be overcome (if they could be overcome). As a result of this chat with my colleagues I decided to write down this vision and what I came up with was this.
I really wonder how education might look like in 10 years from now. I just received a mail from Debbie in OZ who was impressed by the NetGeners.Net approach (www.netgeners.net), that builds upon the work of our FLOSSCom project (www.flosscom.net). Well I do have my very own vision on 10 years from now, but from a vivid chat with some colleagues at IET, I understand that there seem to be many hurdles that must be overcome (if they could be overcome). As a result of this chat with my colleagues I decided to write down this vision and what I came up with was this.

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Published by: Andreas Meiszner on Apr 27, 2008
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03/17/2012

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An interview with the Chancellor of theFree / Open Universityof the South East GlobeVision or reality in 2018?
byAndreas MeisznerInstitute of Educational TechnologiesThe Open University, UKVersion: v_080426_1
Note: This is a work in progress releaseOnline wiki version available through:
1
 
 
An interview with the Chancellor of the Free / Open University of the SouthEast Globe – vision or reality in 2018?
What is the Free / Open University of the South East Globe?
The Free / Open University of the South East Globe (F/OU) is the first global university thatoffers both: free and paid courses, following an adapted business model that was originallyestablished by the open source movement.We do offer full degree programmes that consist of courses that also can be taken on their own.Thus we do offer full degrees for our programmes as well as certificates for individual courses.Students are either based one of our 5 campuses in Southern Europe, Latin America or Africa,or they attend classes at a distance. Free learners on the other hand are almost all learning at adistance though they might organize local meet-ups and get together.Since its founding in 2008 F/OU has not only rapidly grown and is today one of the largestglobal universities, having developed an excellent repute for its unique educational approachand associated research.
I assume that this is naturally one of the first questions you are asked: You are offeringfree and paid courses; are those separate programmes and courses?
No, actually all of our students learn in one global virtual environment, though an open anddispersed one. Formally enrolled students learn together with “free learners” from all over theglobe. So there are not two different types of courses, but only one, following roughly themodel as shown below.2
 
 3
What is the difference between students and free learners?
Well, on the one hand students follow a traditional type of curriculum in order to obtain a givendegree. Free learners on the other hand attend courses of their particular interest, though someof our free learners also aim for attending all courses required for a given degree.
So what is free and what is paid?
Students that are formally enrolled at our courses are paying regular fees, which are often partlyfunded by the government. Free learners on the other hand sometimes pay fees for assessmentof their learning outcomes and to obtain a course certificate.
What do you want to say with “sometimes”?
Sometimes means that free learner can take on the role of tutors, contributors or moderators tocollect “virtual credit points”. Those virtual credit points than can be used to pay forassessment, certification, or diploma fees and sometimes even for the attendance of on campusclasses.
So free learners even could obtain a full degree without payment? And formally enrolledstudents could reduce their fees through active contributions
Yes, this is possible. You see, some of our free learners are very well skilled in a particulararea, but on the other hand don’t earn enough to afford paying for education. Let me provideyou with some examples: Fernando for example is an accountant at a small company insouthern Spain. He wants to advance with his career and thus attends our MBA courses as afree learner. He also supports Dr. Silva at the course “102 – Basic Introduction toAccountancy” as a tutor virtually at the course forum. Or let’s take Sylvia, who works as amultimedia designer in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sylvia is passionate about what she is doing and runshere own website on graphic design. So Dr. Jones from the course “304 – Graphic design forprofessionals” is using here website to provide his students with more realistic learningenvironment than he could have done before. There are many ways free learner, and evenenrolled students, can bring themselves in to gain virtual credits.
You talked about students and free learner acting as tutor, contributor or moderator –can you briefly explain this and what is the advantage?
In traditional educational settings courses start and end at given times and you have a studentturn over of 100%. Within such a setting you will need to start each time from scratch, witheducators explaining the basic questions over and over again. Within such a setting you don’thave the possibility to establish a type of community and to gain from it. In older times we hadweb forums that were rarely used as there was no real community behind. This now haschanged as free learners, and also some of our students, start and leave at different times andsome of our free learner also moderate course forums or act as a course tutor. Thus we do havefor each course “old foxes” that can assist “newbies” and also point them to answers that were

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