Open to Debate: Open Education and the Library

Academic Liaison Librarian
San Jose State University
Ann Agee
Academic Liaison Librarian
San Jose State University


Universities have embraced massive open online courses (MOOCs) with startling speed. For some, this “disruptive” idea sparks excitement about a world of free and easily accessible education. Others see MOOCs as a way to further monetize education and reduce faculty on the academy’s payroll. This session encourages you to get involved in the conversation and consider other provocative questions arising from the new academic landscape created by open educational resources and free online courses. In an Oxford-style debate, session attendees get to be the debaters by voting on some of today’s most controversial issues, engaging in debate, then voting a second time to see if opinions have been changed. Join us for a stimulating, informative and interactive exploration of the controversies surrounding the latest developments in open education.


Open education is a transformative idea. Providing quality online courses, open access textbooks and open educational resources for anyone with an internet connection could create a nation of knowledgeable lifelong learners or decimate higher education as we know it. Or both. Like all disruptive ideas it raises some controversial questions. In this session, the presenters will frame questions addressing the role of the library in MOOCs and the open education movement by providing background and context for current controversies then asking the attendees to engage in an Oxford-style debate. Using Poll Everywhere, a pre-debate vote will be taken, allowing attendees to vote as for, against or undecided on the issue. Attendees will then be teamed up and assigned a “side” of the debate. Teams will be given a handout outlining the key points of the issue and must come up with a defense for their side. Each faction will present their defense and the debate will begin. At the end of the debate, a second vote will be taken to see if opinions on the issue have changed. The side that sways the most opinions wins. The session will be structured around three provocative questions and attendees will leave with a better sense of the issues and opportunities created by open education and an understanding of where their faculty and administrators stand on the subject and why.

Presentation Materials


Date and time: 
Sat, 04/05/2014 - 10:15am - 11:30am


Madrone [LL]