Post #4: IP vs. OSD – Education

Of all the topics we have thus covered so far in the open source world, none other than the topic of education do I feel is most applicable for OSD. As I further discuss the concepts, benefits, and practical implementations of OSD in the education sector in comparison to IP development, there are some things that I will need to define before providing my opinion.

First, when mentioning the IP system for education, I am primarily referring to the current model of education in America. The education system in America begins with early and secondary public education followed by institutionalized higher education. When I refer to IP in the following blog, it can synonymous with institutions that are mandated through strict government or private regulations, such as UVA.

Secondly, when referring to OSD solutions, I am referring to OSD education systems as discussed in the article cited at the end of this blog. Some OSD education projects already implemented in the world today include websites such as Khan Academy.

Raw Content of Education
When analyzing IP vs. OSD education in terms of the actual knowledge obtained from the systems, OSD is definitely comparable. Especially because I am a computer science major, I have personally seen the benefits of OSD design in courses. Many CS majors and students simply pick up CS by going through online classes and tutorials. I think OSD solutions can provide almost as much knowledge as regular institutions considering many institutions implement learning methods that simply teach from a textbook anyway. Perhaps the one biggest concern for OSD in this field would be the testing and applying of the knowledge, considering there is minimal instruction assistance.

Broad Variety of Topics
While it is true that Universities offer a wide array of classes that cover every academic area, OSD can match this attribute too. Because OSD is largely put together by individuals who have passion and expertise in a given field, and because resources are pulled together, OSD can provide education for any subject imaginable.

External Factors Other than Education
Perhaps the biggest weakness of OSD are other benefits of institutional education other than knowledge. For example, tradition, community, and recreation outside of class are all elements of the University life that students desire and enjoy at college. OSD education would not be able to provide these factors, but on the other hand, OSD may be able to more quickly mobilize students to go into the workforce. For example, while institutions for education encourage and require students to take a wide variety of classes, OSD education could help a student master one single craft more rapidly by not requiring other classes. This can better prepare a student for the workforce. Perhaps one way education will move in the future will be corporate sponsored education, where companies will pay for schools to specifically train students for the needs of that company with the benefit of guaranteed employment after graduation.

In the end, I can conclude that OSD education is a very attractive field. However, the major danger lies in the absence of other extracurriculars that universities have, that ultimately OSD cannot provide. Also, I believe OSD is better suited for more technical majors such as computer science, because the information is more factual and requires less teacher instruction compared to liberal arts subjects. Overall, the biggest enemy to OSD education is tradition. If we can somehow manage to change the culture of our country, then OSD education will become a much bigger reality. I sincerely believe that a CS major taught purely though OSD education can be more technical skilled and crafted, than one taught through traditional systems.

Sources
The Future of Open Systems Solutions, Now

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