Course Development in Distance Education: Whose is the Content?
As well as speeding up communication between institution and student and making the preparation and distribution of media-rich course material much easier, the World-Wide Web will change distance education in more fundamental ways. The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth is a unique laboratory for examining these trends, which pose fundamental challenges to the role of institutions in approving the content of courses and certifying student learning. How will distance education take advantage of the effervescent creation of open educational resources? Is there a trade-off between openness and usefulness when we create OERs? Are educational Wikis more than an electronic vanity press: can they produce usable teaching material at scale? More fundamentally still, who will determine course content in the Web 2.0 world, the institution or the student? Constructivist approaches to education are now fashionable and the interactive Web makes it possible for students to design their own curriculum and find the necessary learning resources. Where does that leave institutions?