and that's not to say that I don't respect and admire David Wiley. I enrolled in one of his early open online courses (Introduction to Open Education 2007!)and the information he presented and the examples he provided and the challenging discussions he facilitated developed my strong interest and belief in open content. I began my first blog about open content right around then (which has since moved over to GoogleSites - I collect new OER sites, open content courses, and new movements or initiatives within the open content area at "Open=Free?"
I'm pleased to hear that his Flat World Knowledge initiative is succeeding. I had some serious doubts that a model like this could survive as a "business" model. While I believe in open content I assumed it would never survive without the serious funding provided by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and other benevolent bodies. Funny that everyone talks about MIT's work in setting up OpenCourseWare and making so many courses available but they never acknowledge that a great deal of their monies come from the TWFHF (and I give them a lot of credit for making the project successful - many others have withered even with funding)
It's interesting to read a Q&A session that TWFHF's Catherine Casserly in 2007 to find out how much skepticism there was about the OER idea and the quality of "free" course materials.
I like what I have seen develop in the OER field - the ability to study by yourself, the interactivity of online course modules in Connexions, the variety of online learning tools available through the UK's Open University's OpenLearn site.
I can't say I can see any way that some of the new developments (directions?) can ever be self-sustaining. David is talking about developing open assessment tools; New Zealand's Otago Polytechnic provides recognizable credits for open courses; BCCampus folks are trying to develop an OER University with recognized credentials. to me this is going too far and will eventually require a return to the semi-business model that traditional universities represent. This doesn't seem to be in the spirit of the original sharing without dictating standards or outcomes. Open Content should be about sharing so that people can remix, reshape and reshare - not so they can access another country's credentials or accept their standards of what is important to be learned.
More another time