UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning | Fifth International Seminar – Linda Roberts: Curriki

13 November, 2008

Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning Fifth International Seminar. Fighting the Digital Divide through Education)

Linda G. Roberts explains the Curriki model. More pictures of the Seminar at Flickr.

Linda Roberts, Curriki

The way we make progress, is doing things: the power of taking risks, and not being satisfied with small successes.

A change of paradigm: the Participation Age. This is why global connectivity, global access, the global network come so important.

The Mission: eliminate the Education Divide. Content is abundant, but it’s embedded into expensive devices (i.e. textbooks). How to make it available?

The Internet is a great World equalizer and the Open Source community has proven to be the hallmark of the “Participation Age”.

We’re shifting from a linear knowledge space (the classroom, the library) towards a random knowledge space (the Internet). Clayton M. ChristensenDisrupting Class: how to benefit from the innovation that this disruption represents.

Open Education

How open is open? can you build courses and curricula collaboratively? Can you trust the community?

If the materials are as open as open education (should be), then even an improvement in the economic model of delivering education also can come to existence, shifting 1/3 of the budget from learning materials towards teaching and teachers and guidance, which is what is scarce: time.


Build a portal, a community of educators, a repository of open educational resources, and a global community.

Find, contribute, connect, and at a global level, with materials and whole courses in several languages.

Personalization is also made possible by creating personal collections of resources.

Q & A

Paul West: Is Curriki going to be around in, say, 3 years? Is anybody going to use it? A: Hope yes, because the world is going to be global in essence.

Susan Metros: How to take the content out of these collections, rebuild it and make it available worldwide? Could it be a business strategy that made the project sustainable? A: The problem (or positive thing) is that the people that create the materials they do it for their own reasons and a business plan is not in their equations. So, how to get support from the community without bothering them in things they’re not interested in? Providing evidence should suffice to raise funds, but maybe alternate models had to be approached. The matter is that, even in the open community, a business plan (not for profit, but a business plan anyway) has to be kept in mind.

Tim Unwin: what about the commoditization of Education, where you have to pay as an investment in yourself? How does this philosophy cope with the open paradigm? A: We should be able to make come the pieces together, and every time we do something we should be able to both generate value and show we do. It’s not enough to know you’re making an impact, but it has to be grounded on evidence. And the community can play an important role in this, as diffusers, as prescriptors. And, indeed, evidence needs to be collected and analysed: research should back all decisions, developments, etc.

Mara Hancock: How do people discover things like Curriki? How to promote not findability but discoverybility? A: To intentionally bring in relevant and active people that already are players in their own field. Also, know the language the community is already using, and know what the community is looking for.

Susan Metros: How can things made been easy? I want everything one click away.

Tim Unwin: I don’t want anything, I want what’s best. Amazon’s suggestion system is just this.

Ismael Peña-López: Leveraging the power of an existing community should boost findability, ease of use, discoverybility, filtering…

Julià Minguillón: the community can also help to build a reputation system that can nurture a (future) semantic web.

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