Advanced Learning: Education Year in Review
Sharing and collaborations between institutions and educators are also valuable, and they seem to be taking root in the digital media realm. The Opencast Community Project made its debut in 2008. According to its website, its mission is to empower "institutions to make informed choices about capture, processing, and distribution infrastructure for audio/video."
The project seeks to encourage faculty "to teach courses and share knowledge with their students and learners worldwide without technology getting in the way." It also aims to help students "access and shape media into a more meaningful tool for learning and to make sure everyone can easily find and engage with educational video, audio, and other rich media from instructors and institutions around the world."
Already, Opencast has signed up member institutions from around the world—from Oxford University and the University of Geneva in Europe to Monash University in Australia. In the U.S., the University of California–Berkeley received a planning grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Opencast project, signing up some of the most prestigious colleges in North America.
The sharing of and collaboration on best practices—especially those focused on creating better learning environments with media—along with sharing actual courseware and media will be vital for the continued growth of educational media online. The global economic recession is hitting public and private institutions alike, whether it’s a drop in tax revenue or a hit to endowment investments. In this environment, pooling resources for making and using digital media not only makes fiscal sense but also promises to catalyze real advancements in the use of video for the benefit of students in and outside the classroom.
It’s safe to say that the current financial challenges facing both education and industry will frame the growth of educational video in 2009, but there is also hope that this is the sort of challenge that will spark creativity and innovation, benefiting generations of students to come.