In past blogs, I’ve chronicled the development of Writing Commons, the Open Education Home for Writers, with hopes that my experiences developing an Open Education Resource (OER) might be of interest to faculty across the disciplines. I’ve argued that faculty might want to consider contributing to Writing Commons or other OERs that are peer-reviewed, that faculty might want to develop their own OERs and try to grow communities around their projects. And I’ve argued that CC 3.0 NC ND is a viable copyright license for faculty who are re-purposing a textbook.
Although I’ve been working on Writing Commons for over a decade, I assumed I’d need another ten or twenty years before the project became widely used. Instead, I feel like a NASA engineer whose rocket is going to blast off from Cape Canaveral. Why? This past week I learned that Duke University has adopted Writing Commons for its upcoming MOOC, which is funded by the Gates Foundation. By 3/18, we can expect an additional 50,000 to 75,000 students to come banging on our door. Now it may be true some of these students may not stick around for the full MOOC but we certainly want to make them feel as welcome as possible.
Now you may recall that in an effort to inspire faculty to start their own OERs, I bragged about how I was supporting thousands of users a day at Writing Commons with an inexpensive commercial account–costing about $120 a year. And those of you who know me have probably heard me say that the day Writing Commons succeeds is the day the server crashes. Well, 3/18 is now that day! But no need to worry, my Boy Scout and Order of the Arrow training (what can I say, I grew up in Utah and Utah takes scouting seriously) is kicking in, and we are working madly to move the site to the university where I work, the University of South Florida. I’m very fortunate to have this option because USF’s IT people are first-rate, and they can easily handle the MOOC traffic. (Thank you, George Ellis, Michael Sink, Christopher Akin, and Shelley Hayes. And thank you Terry Beavers and Shelley Hayes for building a new foundation with Joomla 3!)
It’s a clear day here at the Cape. All eyes are pointed upward.