Why not creating courses our self instead of asking universities to make them open?

Thank you, Martin for this provocative question from the learner side of the system. Yes as @Munirmoosa and @JudithSebesta above indicate, there are elements of needing some how economically to support an infrastructure that provides free and open courses.

But I think is more interesting to ponder the container of a “course” as the package of learning. In creating a course, the designers make decisions in an effort to make “one” course be relevant in a fixed form and applicable, on the right level for a wide range of learners. And as you describe, often what you find as an independent learner, the fit is not good.

There is also the idea behind the original inspiration for open courses, MIT’s OpenCourseWare was that “giving it away” was not a loss because an MIT course is not the experience of learning at MIT. The course is not the learning. I do find it useful to read some of the stories of people who learn from MIT courseware and are never enrolled as official students and tagging @shiras @cjnewton to add on to how this works out in the world.

Maybe It’s Not a Course You Should Be Making

I cheered at your question- that these courses that are “free” are not really ideal on their own for many/most (?) self-motivated learners.

But I wondered then, is the most useful thing for Martin to create the perfect mechanical engineering course for Martin that might miss the mark as much as you describe for Marion? I am not sure we need more fixed content courses (I have other musings about fixed OER).

What I think might be more useful than a “course” would be a notebook that you kept while learning a topic. It could include the sequence of key topics, the resources, readings you found most useful, and mostly, something like a workspace as you share how you worked out problems or researched. This would be Martin’s Path Through One Or More Courses (or more). If it were housed in a place where people could then download and remix – yes I am suggesting something like the intimidating and for some problematic due to its owners GitHub but there are other alternatives- the platform is not the answer. It could be a blog, A Ghost/Substack.

But let’s say there is a place to find all the different “notebooks” students have created to navigate their path through a topic, with maybe some kind of suggested structure, a final portfolio element – I am just making this up as a type.

I think also this could use a community space for people to connect/mingle/share as they are working through a notebook. I can see from the link in your profile, Martin, that you are exploring this already.

Okay, I think the idea of a student created learning path very interesting, but am not sure the packaging as a Moodle Course is really the best approach. What do you think of the Notebook concept?