Friday, October 5, 2012

How large is the global 'Open Education' community?

If you look at each of the simple links to 'Open' Education IT projects or software products on the COSI 'Open' Education web site  it doesn't make much of an impression on you.  BUT, take another look and think about it for a minute.

When you see the link to the Saiki system, for example, there are hundreds of thousands of students being taught by faculty at several hundred academic institutions across the country and around the world that use this 'open source' Learning Management System (LMS).  There are also tens of thousands of system users, developers, programmers, analysts, and operators supporting these systems.

Now look at some of the other simple links to Connexions, Dokeos,  Evergreen, Kaltura, Kuali, Moodle, OER Commons, OpenCourseWare,  Zotero, and the dozens of other high quality open source or public domain Education projects and software products. Behind each of these links are many thousands of users, developers, and support staff around the world  – not to mention the millions of students being taught by teachers and professors at academic institutions running these systems.

Stop and think about it! The simple list of links on COSI 'Open' Education pointing to open source Education IT systems and projects collectively represent a global 'Open Education' community numbering in the tens of millions of people – from end users, to programmers, analysts, operators, support staff, to faculty & students.  But, we're just in the beginning stages of this movement. The numbers are continuing to spiral upward.

Bottom line – we simply don't know how big the global 'Open Education' community really is.  BUT, it's huge!  So before you or some management consultant simply dismiss 'open source'  Education IT systems once again - stop and think twice. Think very carefully about these systems that you might be blithely dismissing as inconsequential.

Again, I urge you to take the time to delve deeper and check out some of the many high quality 'open source' and 'open access'  Education communities, technologies, software tools, resources, and solutions posted on the COSI 'Open' Education web site.

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