Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses

Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses

by Taylor Walsh
     
 

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Over the past decade, a small revolution has taken place at some of the world's leading universities, as they have started to provide free access to undergraduate course materials--including syllabi, assignments, and lectures--to anyone with an Internet connection. Yale offers high-quality audio and video recordings of a careful selection of popular lectures, MIT

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Overview

Over the past decade, a small revolution has taken place at some of the world's leading universities, as they have started to provide free access to undergraduate course materials--including syllabi, assignments, and lectures--to anyone with an Internet connection. Yale offers high-quality audio and video recordings of a careful selection of popular lectures, MIT supplies digital materials for nearly all of its courses, Carnegie Mellon boasts a purpose-built interactive learning environment, and some of the most selective universities in India have created a vast body of online content in order to reach more of the country's exploding student population. Although they don't offer online credit or degrees, efforts like these are beginning to open up elite institutions--and may foreshadow significant changes in the way all universities approach teaching and learning. Unlocking the Gates is one of the first books to examine this important development.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, including extensive interviews with university leaders, Taylor Walsh traces the evolution of these online courseware projects and considers the impact they may have, both inside elite universities and beyond. As economic constraints and concerns over access demand more efficient and creative teaching models, these early initiatives may lead to more substantial innovations in how education is delivered and consumed--even at the best institutions. Unlocking the Gates tells an important story about this form of online learning--and what it might mean for the future of higher education.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Higher Education
By now, books, articles and blogs about the virtues and vices of online distance learning are hardly new, and are frequently repetitive. But Taylor Walsh's Unlocking the Gates is different. She analyses in great detail the varied experiences of a small number of elite US, UK and Indian universities that, starting in 1999, began to offer some, if not all, of their undergraduate courses online to varying audiences. Walsh has done extensive research—including interviews with 87 educational and business leaders—in this pioneering, unbiased study. . . . A solid, pioneering contribution to the study of online higher education and will surely become the benchmark for later studies.
— Howard P. Segal
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management
The enabling of open access to learning materials from a range of international higher education providers, at least those that choose to share, means that, provided the technology exists to enable access, potential scholars from around the world can use them to learn and grow in ways not previously available to them. And that it why it is worth reading this book.
— Kevin Ashford-Rowe
PsycCRITIQUES
Walsh's book stimulates reflection. . . . Too, it provides substantial reality testing with respect to the large number of practical issues spawned by the OER movement.
— Donald J. Foss
Teachers College Record
The book is an eye-opener, supported by ample footnotes and extensive interviews (if not with enthusiastic users like myself), as well as financial records and others sources.
— John Wilinsky
Times Higher Education - Howard P. Segal
By now, books, articles and blogs about the virtues and vices of online distance learning are hardly new, and are frequently repetitive. But Taylor Walsh's Unlocking the Gates is different. She analyses in great detail the varied experiences of a small number of elite US, UK and Indian universities that, starting in 1999, began to offer some, if not all, of their undergraduate courses online to varying audiences. Walsh has done extensive research—including interviews with 87 educational and business leaders—in this pioneering, unbiased study. . . . A solid, pioneering contribution to the study of online higher education and will surely become the benchmark for later studies.
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management - Kevin Ashford-Rowe
The enabling of open access to learning materials from a range of international higher education providers, at least those that choose to share, means that, provided the technology exists to enable access, potential scholars from around the world can use them to learn and grow in ways not previously available to them. And that it why it is worth reading this book.
PsycCRITIQUES - Donald J. Foss
Walsh's book stimulates reflection. . . . Too, it provides substantial reality testing with respect to the large number of practical issues spawned by the OER movement.
Teachers College Record - John Wilinsky
The book is an eye-opener, supported by ample footnotes and extensive interviews (if not with enthusiastic users like myself), as well as financial records and others sources.
hel Dearlove

For anyone looking for an insight into some of the issues lying underneath western higher education, they would do well to pick up a copy of Unlocking the Gates. Taylor Walsh's work may only focus on one particular phenomenon but it acts as a lens through which to examine some key challenges facing institutions: how to have a global impact whilst also serving your local students, how to do more with less in times of reducing budgets and endowments, and how higher education can and should change to become fit for the 21st century.
Change - Mary Taylor Huber
The [book] is a rich portrait of the history and prospects of these courseware efforts, the aspirations and concerns of their principals, their academic content and connections to their sponsoring universities, and their contrasting business models. While the author's sensibility and vocabulary come from management (rather than, say, technology, education, or sociology), the book should be accessible to readers from a wide range of backgrounds.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2012 Philip E. Frandson Award for Literature in the Field of Continuing Higher Education, University Professional and Continuing Education Association

"By now, books, articles and blogs about the virtues and vices of online distance learning are hardly new, and are frequently repetitive. But Taylor Walsh's Unlocking the Gates is different. She analyses in great detail the varied experiences of a small number of elite US, UK and Indian universities that, starting in 1999, began to offer some, if not all, of their undergraduate courses online to varying audiences. Walsh has done extensive research—including interviews with 87 educational and business leaders—in this pioneering, unbiased study. . . . A solid, pioneering contribution to the study of online higher education and will surely become the benchmark for later studies."—Howard P. Segal, Times Higher Education

"For anyone looking for an insight into some of the issues lying underneath western higher education, they would do well to pick up a copy of Unlocking the Gates. Taylor Walsh's work may only focus on one particular phenomenon but it acts as a lens through which to examine some key challenges facing institutions: how to have a global impact whilst also serving your local students, how to do more with less in times of reducing budgets and endowments, and how higher education can and should change to become fit for the 21st century."—Rachel Dearlove, Impact of Social Sciences, London School of Economics blog

"The enabling of open access to learning materials from a range of international higher education providers, at least those that choose to share, means that, provided the technology exists to enable access, potential scholars from around the world can use them to learn and grow in ways not previously available to them. And that it why it is worth reading this book."—Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management

"Walsh's book stimulates reflection. . . . Too, it provides substantial reality testing with respect to the large number of practical issues spawned by the OER movement."—Donald J. Foss, PsycCRITIQUES

"The book is an eye-opener, supported by ample footnotes and extensive interviews (if not with enthusiastic users like myself), as well as financial records and others sources."—John Wilinsky, Teachers College Record

"The [book] is a rich portrait of the history and prospects of these courseware efforts, the aspirations and concerns of their principals, their academic content and connections to their sponsoring universities, and their contrasting business models. While the author's sensibility and vocabulary come from management (rather than, say, technology, education, or sociology), the book should be accessible to readers from a wide range of backgrounds."—Mary Taylor Huber, Change

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400838578
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Daniel Greenstein
This book tells an interesting and important story. The research is fabulous and probing, and the storyline is wonderfully focused on leadership and the decisions it makes in circumstances that are constantly evolving and uncertain.
Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for academic planning, programs, and coordination, University of California
Saul Fisher
Unlocking the Gates tells the story of how a number of selective universities are venturing into the world of online education. Taylor Walsh explores the motivations, successes and failures, and prospects of these projects, asking whether they are worthy in their own right and whether they are the right moves for these universities.
Saul Fisher, associate provost, Hunter College, City University of New York
Henry Bienen
New technologies and budget austerity have increased the urgency to experiment with online learning in higher education, both on campus and distance learning. It is extremely timely that Taylor Walsh presents and analyzes case studies of selective universities' attempts to develop online courseware. There is very much to be learned about business models, the hopes and fears of faculty and administrators, and the organizational structures and cultures of the universities involved from these clearly written and always provocative studies of Yale, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, Columbia, and a program in India. Unlocking the Gates will be essential reading for those interested in online learning, indeed for those thinking about the evolution of higher education in the United States and globally.
Henry Bienen, president emeritus, Northwestern University
William G. Bowen
I have been on record for some time as being skeptical about the likely effects on productivity in higher education of various new technologies. . . . But the evidence that Walsh presents about the work at Carnegie Mellon has caused me to re-think my position. . . . Unlocking the Gates is a splendid introduction to a fascinating and fast-changing world. Unless I am badly mistaken, over time all sectors of higher education will be affected in one way or another by what are truly transformational changes in the way knowledge is created and disseminated. Now that increasing numbers of universities, including some of the most prestigious, are using technology to let the world into their precincts, it will never again be possible to lock the gates.
from the foreword by William G. Bowen, president emeritus, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University

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