Open deliveryware

This blog post relates to my study of CCK11.

Continuing my readings of the course with Stephen Downes blog post entitled What Connectivism is Not, I have come across the following passage, which I find incredibly fascinating.

There is no reason for the *delivery* of instruction (whatever form it may take) to be conjoined with the more formal and institutionally-based *assessment* of instruction. Which means that we can offer an open, potentially chaotic, potentially diverse, approach to learning, and at the same time employ such a process to support learning in traditional institutions.

As George has said, we are doing for the delivery of instruction what MIT OpenCourseWare has done for content. We have opened it up, and made it something that is not only not institutionally bound, but something that is, to a large degree, created and owned by the learners engaged in this instructional process.

Stephen and George are continuing the idea of openness for education through deliveryware.  Yes, I coined it 🙂 (although I suspect it is already trademarked).

While a recent trend has emerged where traditional education institutions are openly publishing their courseware through iTunes U and other technologies, the MOOC concept is openly distributing/sharing the delivery or facilitation of a traditional course.  So what remains within the confines of the institution?  As Stephen explains, the delivery and assessment need not be conjoined.  If you are happy to be evaluated by your peers, and do not seek formal credentials, then participating in a MOOC without “enrolment” might be your gig.  By enrolling, you are entitled to feedback from more established and recognised “experts” and a formal statement to the effect that you have achieved mastery or competency in your chosen study through evaluation by experts. This is unchanged from the traditional education system now.

This distinction of credentials and export feedback gives learning institutions a point of difference, when you ask the question “why should I pay?”


6 thoughts on “Open deliveryware

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  1. I like your, [deliveryware = traditional_course – OCW] equation and I think Stephen Downes is right, at least in principle. But whereas a MOOC-like approach may be fine for people who come to a subject with some familiarity and enthusiasm, I don’t think current MOOCs are “distributing/sharing the delivery or facilitation of a traditional course”. I doubt if MOOCS would work nearly so well in many other circumstances without severe modification, such as a good degree of organization and largescale deployment of facilitators to jolly things along. This of course would be highly demanding of resources.

    1. G’day,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      I think I see your point – will this model (MOOC) scale in other contexts? Will it scale in other disciplines?

      I’m wondering why you don’t think current MOOCs are distributing/sharing the delivery or facilitation of a traditional course. Could you elaborate on that point?


  2. I concede that MOOCS may do that for enthusiasts but the high drop-out rates and complaints about chaos, confusion, lack of focus etc suggests that many people are turned off by current MOOCs. Maybe the real problem is that a MOOC isn’t a ‘course’ at all in much of the traditional sense so expectations can be unrealistic.

    Gordon Lockhart

  3. “Maybe the real problem is that a MOOC isn’t a ‘course’ at all in much of the traditional sense so expectations can be unrealistic.”

    That’s a good point Gordon. A ‘course’ is an established concept that is quite well known around the world, and so there would be certain traditional expectations.

    To study using a MOOC, you really do need to have developed 21st century skills as ascribed by Connectivism. You need to be able to manage the amount of information and find your way.

    I believe I have reasonable skills in this area, and I must admit I am finding it incredibly overwhelming – the amount of content that arrives in my email box, and the chaos. I have tried to manage how the information comes to me via RSS, but even then I’m struggling to do so. There are just so many feeds that are published in so many places. Perhaps I am trying to capture too much, and should just rely on the feed that comes from

    Thanks for your comments Gordon.


  4. Yes quite impossible but at least mostly on record to come back to if necessary. Thanks for an interesting exchange from which has emerged an idea – let’s do away with the ‘C’ in MOOC and rename it MOOX where ‘X’ is the unknown whose value is assigned by the participant!

    BTW, you might find some of the comments here interesting: . I see that Frances Bell has just added a comment and a link to a slide show. (the post on Language and logic)


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