I just returned from a swing around some more or less non-elite colleges in the Midwest where I faced a common objection to DIY U:
You talk about access. But the students being left out of the current system are the ones who need more one-on-one support, so how can online educational resources, even if they’re free, possibly help them?

To which my basic answer is: You got a better idea?
Either we use technology to bend the cost curve in higher education, or we resign ourselves to never having enough of it. For-profit colleges will continue, quite expensively, to take up the slack by targeting the students left out of the current system: working adults and the first in their families to go to college. I agree that it would be a good basic strategy to reallocate the $ saved through use of open educational resources toward one-on-one support and mentoring for the students who need it most.(I’m not sure I agree that these types of services could never be delivered digitally with economies of scale: For example at Miami Dade college where automated text messages follow up on students who miss class. But that’s another discussion).

Viewed this way, the creation of open educational resources from the Open Courseware Consortium to open-source LMS like Sakai, and even open study groups like OpenStudy could essentially be viewed as a necessary and productive resource transfer from rich schools to less well funded ones.

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