Resolutions for Higher Education

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Format Ideas: "Ten Resolutions on the Future of Higher Education"

  • give context
  • allow full range of access to course materials for community
  • encourage all faculty to make materials available online for free
  • connect to values
  • prepare for future
  • why...?
  • preamble


Values:

  • service to humanity


Whereas:

  • technology does 'x'
  • the college holds 'x' values
  • our peers are engaging in 'x'
  • it's super easy! (--> we have the intellectual and material resources)

So...

  • --> Upshot for Social Justice -->
  • --> Upshot for Students -->
  • --> Public knowledge is public power -->
  • --> The world is changing in 'x' ways -->

Resolved:

  • we should provide facilities to make all course materials (professor work, student work, etc.) available freely to the public
  • encourage all faculty to publish online
  • highlight open journals
  • provide for assistance to those faculty that wish to publish online but are unable

Rules of Higher Education:

  • constructively encourage faculty and students to express ideas to the world
  • provide means to members of the community to publish openly
  • provide access to these ideas to humanity
  • publish library collections
  • space for students to publish
  • establish and participate in efforts to engage in civil and informed discourse
  • constructively contribute to the intellectual commons in cyberspace

(ideas from Freenet meeting on 3/8/11)

Draft 1: For a good while now, the Free Network Movement has been working towards making the world a freer place through the ethical use of technology. While our efforts up to this point have been mostly of a technical nature, we are excited to say this is no longer the case. With the publication of this article we hope to spark a dialogue about the role of our institution in a changing world. As the college seeks the formulation of a long-term vision, we intend to make our voices heard. We intend to ask the following question, as poignantly and as plainly as possible: 'what can we, as an institution and as individuals, do to serve our humanity?'

In our search for answers to this question, one ideas has come to the fore. It is an idea that has been embraced with great effect by other institutions of higher education. The idea is that of OpenCourseWare.



The world is changing. We see it everyday. A new world emerges, and advances in information technology profoundly affect our ability to share information. It is essential now that we take a moment to consider the role of education in our society. In the interest of future generations, for the sake of social justice, and in the name of our shared humanity, we the undersigned, wish to express the following:

whereas

we value truth and humanity,

The marginal cost in the reproduction and transmission of information rapidly approaches zero.

It is morally imperative to help others when it comes at no cost to oneself.

We are living in a newly and increasingly globalized world,

There exists a growing disparity in global levels of wealth and education,

knowledge is power,

we possess the technology, the means, and the intellectual capital

We beleive that

Educational institutions have a responsibility to ensure that all possible course materials are made freely available to the public.

Our institutions should provide a platform for both Faculty and Students to publish their work. Both students and faculty should be encouraged to do so.

As academics, our role is to help make public discourse more civil and better informed.

We should contribute to the intellectual commons that is emergent in cyberspace.

Our libraries should make every effort to provide for the wider public to access their collections.

Provide technical assistance to those faculty that wish to publish online but are unable to do so.


op-ed

For a good while now, the Free Network Movement has been working towards making the world a freer place through the ethical use of technology. While our efforts up to this point have been mostly of a technical nature, we are excited to say this is no longer the case. With the publication of this article we hope to spark a dialogue about the role of our institution in a changing world. As the college seeks the formulation of a long-term vision, we intend to make our voices heard. We intend to ask the following question, as poignantly and as plainly as possible: 'what can we, as an institution and as individuals, do to serve humanity?' In our search for answers to this question, one idea has come to the fore. It is an idea that has been embraced with great effect by other institutions of higher education. The idea is that of OpenCourseWare (OCW). OCW is not a new idea. MIT launched their version in 2002. Since then, many of America's finest institutions of higher learning have joined in, creating websites that offer course materials to any interested party. While there are certainly curricular differences between Grinnell and larger research institutions, the time has come for Grinnell to do its part in providing an education to all those who seek knowledge, even if they cannot afford it. We see a future in which educational environments in cyberspace transcend the barriers to knowledge that are so needlessly pervasive in today's world.

In the coming weeks, Freenet will begin circulating a petition to students, faculty and staff calling for actions that would make some semblance of a Grinnell education available to a much larger population of intellectually curious individuals. It is important to note that OpenCourseWare does not result in any sort of certification or degree—its purpose is education for education's sake, a means of empowering humanity against the constraining bonds of ignorance.

Among the proposals Freenet will make are the posting of syllabi and reading lists on an open, non password-protected website, a space for students to publish original work that the public can read and share via Creative Commons Licensing, and a commitment to readings from open, online scholarly journals that do not require expensive subscription fees.

The following is a first draft of the petition that we plan to distribute. In the spirit of collaboration that has become characteristic of the new information economy, this document is by no means complete. Any who wish to comment on or edit its content may do so by visiting freenetworkmovement.org/commons, and clicking on 'Resolutions for Education.'

We ask that you consider the ideas contained in the following document, and do your part to help guide Grinnell into its role as an institution of higher learning in an era where knowledge is reproducible at practically no cost:

  • Resolutions for Education*

The world is changing. We see it everyday. A new world emerges, and advances in information technology profoundly affect our ability to share information. It is essential now that we take a moment to consider the role of education in our society. In the interest of future generations, for the sake of social justice, and in the name of our shared humanity, we the undersigned, wish to express the following:

whereas

we value truth and humanity,

The marginal cost in the reproduction and transmission of information rapidly approaches zero.

It is morally imperative to help others when it comes at no cost to oneself.

We are living in a newly and increasingly globalized world,

There exists a growing disparity in global levels of wealth and education,

knowledge is power,

we possess the technology, the means, and the intellectual capital

We believe that

Educational institutions have a responsibility to ensure that all possible course materials are made freely available to the public.

Our institutions should provide a platform for both Faculty and Students to publish their work. Both students and faculty should be encouraged to do so.

As academics, our role is to help make public discourse more civil and better informed.

We should contribute to the intellectual commons that is emergent in cyberspace.

Our libraries should make every effort to provide for the wider public to access their collections.

Provide technical assistance to those faculty that wish to publish online but are unable to do so.