Philipp Schmidt is executive director and co-founder of Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU), the grassroots community for social open learning. An open education activist, he co-authored the Cape Town Open Education Declaration and served as a founding board member for the OpenCourseWare Consortium. A Shuttleworth, Ashoka, and MIT Media Lab Director's fellow, he delivered one of the keynote speeches at Edulearn13, the 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, held in Barcelona (Spain) on July 1-3, 2013.
During his visit to Edulearn13 in Barcelona, Schmidt shared with eLearningEuropa.info some of his thoughts about the future of higher-education and how technology and internet are contributing to shape a new learning landscape.
“The change is definitely coming. We want it or not, technology will push new [learning] opportunities. For me that is exciting. But it requires that the people who are in the system right now start thinking about their roles in a different way, maybe more as facilitators of learning, or maybe someone who does more research,” explains Schmidt, a keen supporter of peer learning and collaboration.
According to his experience “peer learning works,” as it makes “people engage with each other in a more equal playing field.”
“The process of explaining something to your peers makes you really learn it yourself,” he says. Hence, in his projects at MIT Media Lab and P2PU, he’s trying to put the focus more in collaboration and make people feel they are participating in a community of other learners.
“We think education is best if you are in charge of it, if you learn things that you care about. So we try to create a structure online that allows people to do that”.
Regarding the new MOOCs phenomenon, he admits he is frustrated as many of these massive courses don’t actually open their content.
"Many of them don’t license their content openly, so you can’t use it, translate it, run your own course with it. When the course ends it’s closed, so you can’t even go back to the materials, even if you participated in it."
“Open is what drives innovation”, underlines Schmidt, who feels the OpenCourseWare Consortium “has an opportunity to push on openness now that we are moving into the MOOCs phase.”
You can watch the entire video interview here.
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