Kindly grabbed from this week’s Times Higher Education:
A group of universities are in the planning phase of merging already existing Open Educational Resources (OER), aka free online learning materials, to create a degree programme which can be studied online, for free.
The project brings together the OER Foundation, the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, Athabasca University in Canada and Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand. ‘If we get this right…an OER university degree could be ’10-15 per cent’ of the cost of a traditional degree.’
With news like this we sometimes wonder what the reaction would be at UCL if such an movement were to happen more locally, either in other institutions or perhaps our own. Technically we have the tools required to do this, but it takes much more than just Moodle to teach, and learn, entirely online. But this is already happening in some modules at UCL and has been for some time, but not degree level, yet… (plans are already being drawn up for entirely online courses and more supporting technologies).
The most significant part of this is the fees, or lack thereof. The universities involves are awarding bodies and less involved in the teaching process. This is another step in the direction of independent learning.