Open Source Education Endeavor

So I have been reading, learning, and following a few people on Twitter about Open Education. I like the idea and I would like to contribute to the movement to make education available to anyone and everyone. I am currently taking an operating systems class where we are learning how to administer a Linux system. Many of my colleagues and I are frustrated with how the class is being handled and feel that the fun of learning is being sucked out of it by doing textbook examples and questions. One of my biggest frustrations with current teaching methods is that many times there is little more motivation to do something other than for a grade.

My idea has been to create real world situations/ projects that involve the same concepts as the book but make them exciting to the students. When approaching the professor about this idea I was laughed at and told “Sure, you create the projects and I will take a look.” Somehow I get the feeling that not much is going to happen even if I did do that. As a side note, I have also heard rumors that the University is changing the class or getting rid of it in some way. This got me to thinking why not carry out my idea but make it open to anyone? I could get my classmates and friends who are in the class currently and some who just love Linux and we could create a smashing class online free to anyone who wants to learn. Every classmate that I have talked to about this has been enthusiastic and said they would love to contribute.

Creating a open source class would really help my classmates and I learn the material well for many reasons. First, the learning is no longer just for a grade but is a public service for others. When learning is turned into service the whole paradigm of motivation changes in students and amazing things start to happen. Second, the final published product is public and if done well enough, is something students can show future potential employers as an example work. Third, the collaboration that can occur to create, review, and modify the content would be awesome and would create incredible learning and growing experiences that would be invaluable to being more effective in the workplace in the future. There are of course more but that is all I am going to list for now.

So the big question now is what is going to be the most effective way to organize and put the class content online? A blog with different posts and pages, using a service like Google’s knol, forum (*puke!*) or is there some other way that would work great that I haven’t found yet? I would love your help and input on this. Please leave a comment with suggestions/ ideas or get a hold of me on twitter @MikeGrace.