- The U.S. Department of Education got behind Open Educational Resources this week, lauding the benefits of free, shared learning tools.
- A blog post by the Education Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy indicates plans for an online skills academy that would use public educational resources to offer courses leading to degrees and other “employer-recognized credentials.”
- The Department of Labor has recently revised its grant requirements to include a commitment to “openly license all educational content created with grant funds” so other schools can take advantage of them instead of buying costly textbooks or other curriculum materials, Campus Technology reports.
MOOCs have taken the idea of free online learning to a new level. The announcement by the federal government that it plans to offer its own online academy—using materials created not by curriculum companies, but instructors at colleges and universities throughout the country—is a major contribution to the world of online learning. The increasing opportunities for students to get new skills and tap into higher education for free or very low cost, however, could disrupt the industry. Certain online programs will certainly face steeper competition when they’re going up against a brand as trusted, in some circles, as the federal government.
The Department of Education’s blog post didn’t indicate a timeline for its skills academy but did include the effort as part of its plan to promote Open Educational Resources “in the coming year.”