“Last weekend, at the Open Education Conference in Phoenix, David Wiley, chief academic officer of Lumen Learning and the conference’s organizer for 16 years, announced that this would be its last gathering, or at least the last with him at the helm. The conference, which grew from 40 attendees in 2003 to 850 this year, was a meeting place for advocates of open education, a sometimes hard-to-define goal that often involved the use of open educational resources — free, openly licensed digital textbooks.
“This is not a call for another person or organization to come forward to keep the same conference running the same way into the future. Rather, it’s a call to reset and start over,” Wiley wrote on his blog. “This reimagining must be owned by the community. It must be driven by the community. And it would be inappropriate for me to try to facilitate that process beyond extending a brief invitation.”…
The announcement prompted reactions across blogs and Twitter feeds, with some commentators saying that the announcement represented a fracturing of the tenuously aligned coalition of open education advocates. Michael Feldstein, chief accountability officer at e-Literate, wrote on his blog that differences in the goals and preferred tactics of open education advocates could no longer be bridged. Tensions within the “coalition” of open education supporters had become insurmountable, he wrote.
Many people in the coalition had different goals, Feldstein wrote, such as increasing access to education, improving educational quality or promoting the values of education. They also had different strategies, such as lowering the cost of instructional materials, increasing their quality or fostering autonomy for educators. As awareness and adoption of open educational resources has grown, so have tensions, he said….”