Thursday, November 08, 2007

Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative (OLI)

OLI logo The presentation which probably impressed me most at OpenLearn2007 was Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative (OLI). OLI is CMU's OER offering (sorry for all the TLAs). The OLI website offers free instant access to all the courses:
  • Statistics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Causal Reasoning
  • and more
both in an unsupported "Open & Free" version, and via Instructor Accounts which allow creation of custom courses tailored to fit particular groups of students and which tracks students learning and generate reports.

But OLI is more than that. Candace Thille's presentation (p74) made some amazing (but well supported) claims for OLI, that these online methods (not just materials, but methods) are better than traditional teaching and that learners can learn a semester’s material in half the time, while still achieving the same or better learning outcomes:

OLI Graph

I'll definitely be integrating some of the OLI resources into my own teaching this year, but biting the bigger bullet is harder. Should I outsource my teaching to Carnegie Mellon University, and what would my institution do if I did? Until all students roll up at university with a PLE, this is the big question for OER in mainstream universities. And that's quite enough TLAs for one post.

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