Open Education on the Move: An Interview with Vijay Kumar

Published in IS&T News on Sept 17, 2012

Vijay Kumar is the Director of MIT's Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) and a Senior Associate Dean. He is the co-editor of Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge. Published by MIT Press and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the book is available online for free.

Kumar was the Principal Investigator of the Open Knowledge Initiative (O.K.I), a MIT-led collaborative project to develop an open architecture for enterprise educational applications. IS&T’s News Coordinator, Robyn Fizz, recently spoke with Kumar about some of the key concepts propelling the open education movement.

Open education is everywhere, from MITx and edX, to initiatives like Khan Academy, Coursera, and Udacity. How do you define open education and what’s behind its tsunami-like momentum?

Kumar: In 2001, MIT launched OpenCourseWare (OCW), which catalyzed the movement. OCW courses are snapshots of real courses and they present good models, they can be emulated.

The following year, in 2002, UNESCO coined the term Open Education Resources (OER). OER means more than open content. It includes open applications, tools, and architecture, as well as legal enablers like Creative Commons that allow the spirit and practice of open education to be exercised.

Over the past decade, the Open Education movement has expanded dramatically. Openness has become part of the discourse about educational change, whether it’s at the level of a university or a country. For example, there are over 250 institutions in the OpenCourseWare Consortium. National and international organizations like the Commonwealth of Learning have adopted open education as a central strategy for providing quality education on a large scale...

Read complete IS&T news article

Read Robyn's follow-on article OEIT's Role in Fostering Open Education