For decades, a minority among educators has advocated alternate forms of teaching and learning. The litany of alternate forms is long: co-op learning, experiential learning, service learning, internships, semester abroad, field study, authentic learning, problem-based learning, adult education, extension courses, and on and on. Each of these alternate forms was designed with the assumption that traditional classroom learning was the norm.
With the dawning of Web 2.0, these alternate forms of teaching and learning are now becoming the "native" forms for this age. Open education, open knowledge, and open resources are different faces of the Web 2.0 revolution in higher education.
Culturally speaking, with the advent of Web 2.0, the "traditional classroom" with one speaker and many listeners is now an oddity, a throwback, a form that should represent 15 percent of undergraduate interaction with faculty, not 85 percent as it does now. With so many ways to create knowledge now very rapidly and collaboratively, we are freed from the necessity of a singular approach to teaching. It no longer makes sense. If you are a faculty member and you are still walking into the classroom with a lecture in mind and "the points to cover," as I did for many years, you are living in the past, a past that is now obsolete. Granted, your job is easier and the students love it if you just talk, but do you feel right about what you are doing?
The learning tools of this century and probably this millennium are not print-based. That world and all its assumptions about permanence, authority, and scarcity are gone. It is no longer the authority lecture but the conversation that is the emerging norm. The new textbook is student work; I'll say it again: The textbook of this age is the work that students generate under your guidance and within your design.
Strong statements, but it is time to get past the rationalizations of "not enough support," or "what about plagiarism?" or "I've always taught this way, I was taught this way, and I'm not about to change now." The salient fact about Web 2.0 is that the technology that now dominates our world and which is knowledge-generating technology (the car, the plane, the steam engine, or the dynamo were not knowledge-generating technologies, keep in mind), leads to a "native" way of creating knowledge diametrically opposed to how we created knowledge with books and print. This is no small point.