We, the learners…

Petra Dierkes-Thrun launches a “A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age” on her blog this morning (hat tip to the Chronicle and University Affairs for the link).

I love these statements from the preamble:

The Internet has made it possible for anyone on the planet to be a student, a teacher, and a creative collaborator at virtually no cost. Novel technologies that can catalyze learning are bubbling up in less time than it takes to read this sentence. Some have emerged from universities, some from the private sector, some from individuals and digital communities. In the past year, Massive Online Open Courseware, or MOOCs, have become the darling of the moment–lauded by the media, embraced by millions–so new, so promising in possibility, and yet so ripe for exploitation.

We believe that online learning represents a powerful and potentially awe-inspiring opportunity to make new forms of learning available to all students worldwide, whether young or old, learning for credit, self-improvement, employment, or just pleasure. We believe that online courses can create “meaningful” as well as “massive” learning opportunities.

We are aware of how much we don’t know: that we have yet to explore the full pedagogical potential of learning online, of how it can change the ways we teach, the ways we learn, and the ways we connect.

[…]
Our broad goal is to inspire an open, learner-centered dialogue around the rights, responsibilities, and possibilities for education in the globally-connected world of the present and beyond.

The document itself presents a set of rights and another of principles. With regards to the former, they include the right to: access; privacy; create public knowledge; own one’s personal data and intellectual property; financial transparency; pedagogical transparency; quality and care; have great teachers; and to be teachers. While for the latter, principles include: Global contribution; Value; Flexibility; Hybrid learning; Persistence; Innovation; Formative assessment; Experimentation; Civility; and Play.

I find that these statements are important reminders of the issues that underpin our daily activities. Congratulations to the drafters and this will certainly help me orient my online endeavours.

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