Just another Open Networked Learning site

Relevance of open education for economy and society

In our group work for topic four we have worked on a real case scenario by advising a client on the development of a MOOC (we-need-your-help-will-we-get-hired-topic-4).

In the last few weeks, a possibly important aspect of open education has occurred to me out of an ongoing public discussion in Switzerland:
due to the shortage of skilled workers (skilled-worker-shortage-worsens-in-switzerland), there is a discussion in the media and at the political level about the fact that too many academics work part-time and thus give too little back to society (by workforce, taxes) after an expensive, subsidised course of study (die-studenten-vergeuden-ihre-zeit).
I work part time myself and am convinced that it is a necessity these days (especially, if you want to motivate more parents to work while raising a family).

Can open (online) education, e.g. with MOOCs be a chance here, when
a) through synergies (reduced development and supervision costs), education costs could be reduced, thus financed with less tax money?
b) more people can benefit from higher education (access for different social classes and minorities)?

Or is it, on the other hand, even less accessible for underprivileged students because of the requirements to participate
(availability of hard- and software, digital literacy, missing supportive social network etc.)?

Is our school system ready to prepare primary school pupils for online higher education?

I am aware that open education is not necessarily cheaper and more accessible, but I think the potential is huge. And this is only one (social and economic) aspect that would speak for increasing open education and eliminating possible obstacles.

What do you think – are there similar experiences in other countries?

« »