Instructional Design Resources for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This post is to provide resources for future collaboration with faculty and other instructional designers. If you have rubrics, tools, frameworks, or other resources that you have found useful, please comment below. This is a short list to get IDs started and to help guide the research for future rubrics. Much of this was used in my work at the WA SBCTC Highschool+ and Dept. of Corrections projects. If you have rubrics, tools, frameworks, or other resources that you have found useful, please comment below.

Graphic representation of DEI strategies in instructional design

Antoine, Asma-na-hi, et al. (2018). Pulling Together: A guide for Indigenization of post-secondary institutions. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. (An open textbook)

Brantmeier, Ed, et al. (n.d.). Inclusion By Design: Survey Your Syllabus and Course Design – A Worksheet. James Madison University. Harrisonburg, VA (A rubric)

Bryan-Gooden, J, et al (2019). Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard. New York: Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, New York University.

Checklist for an Inclusive Classroom Community. (2006). Adapted from A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction, Grades 4 to 6 – Volume Two Assessment,
2006, pp. 5–8.

Gamrat, Chris (2020). Inclusive Teaching and Course Design. Educause Review.

Garibay, Juan C. (2015) Creating a Positive Classroom Climate for Diversity. UCLA Diversity & Faculty Development.

Major, Amielle (2020). How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning. KQED. Mind/Shift.

Milheim, Karen (2017). A Fundamental Look at Cultural Diversity and the Online Classroom. eLearn, vol 2017, issue 2.

Peralta Community College District Equity Rubric. (2018) Peralta Online Equity Initiative. Peralta Community College. Oakland, Ca.

Sneed, Obiageli (2016). Fostering an Inclusive Environment when Developing Online Courses. Teach Online. Arizona State University.

Snively, Gloria and Williams, Wanosts’a7 Lorna, eds. (2017). Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science, Book 1. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. (An open textbook)

Snively, Gloria and Williams, Wanosts’a7 Lorna, eds. (2018). Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science, Book 2. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. (An open textbook)

Restoule, Jean-Paul and Chaw-win-is. (2017) Old Ways Are the New Way Forward: How Indigenous pedagogy can benefit everyone. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s IdeaLab

Watch this space for a later developments…

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Khipu: Ancient Peruvian Computers

A Spanish contemporary drawing of an Incan with a khipu.

“El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno” by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (1615)

What is a “khipu”? A khipu (also know as a “quipu”) is an ingenious Incan counting and record keeping system. According to the British Museum, it was first introduced by the Wari and further developed by the Incas. A khipu was made up of a series of cords in rows: each one is colored, ordered, twisted, and knotted in such a way as to store information. Virtually anything could be recorded or expressed in a khipu like census records, business transactions, debts, and harvest records. According to the BM, Spanish chronicles mention that they were also used to record histories, poems, and songs. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “The type of knot tied and its position on the pendant relative to the top cord records a numeric value. Three basic types of knot, each with two possible orientations (called “S” and “Z”), have been identified: an “E-knot,” or figure-8 knot…represents a single unit; a “long knot” in which the cord is wrapped around itself from 2 to 9 times represents a number from 2 to 9, depending on the number of times it is wrapped; and a single knot (a simple standard knot) represents 10 or multiple powers of 10, depending on its relative position to the top cord. The numeric value of a cluster of single knots is determined by counting the number of knots in the cluster and multiplying it by 10.” There are over 600 examples in museums world-wide, and archeologists are discovering more all the time. The important work of of gathering together the collections into an online database at Harvard is happening now.

What is interesting to me about this is that this tool and the method for using it, is that it created another class of occupations: the Khipu Specialist. It took a lot to learn this complex system and the khipu created a class of information managers who were the only ones well-versed enough into the system to use it effectively. I imagine that a decline in this knowledge would have led to some very interesting problems for Incan society very much like the difficulties faced by businesses still using COBOL. As it was, the use of khipu came to an abrupt end in the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in South America which wiped-out the Inca people in one generation within 30 years. The Spanish burned every khipu they found as they believed they were ungodly. I am not sure if there was a ever a Personal Khipu which still would have created yet another class of Khipu Support Personnel: “What do you mean its not working? Have you tried shaking it and then tying and untying the knots again?”

Is a khipu a computer? I think modern definitions of what a computer is are very limiting.  Merriam-Webster online at least says “a programmable usually electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data.” The Oxford says that it is “A calculating-machine; esp. an automatic electronic device for performing mathematical or logical operations; freq. with defining word prefixed, as analoguedigitalelectronic computer.” A khipu is obviously used for data storage and retrieval, and mathematical calculations, so I will argue that it is a form of analogue computer. I will class this along with various examples or kinds of abaci known to be in use for the last 5000 years.

Despite these examples, we often act like computing and data management is something new. We use language like “artificial intelligence” where the intelligence (or the lack of it) is clearly coming from us. Humans count things. I wonder if there is not a stage in our evolution that we should call “Homo Computatis”? We seem to do this naturally, but we don’t seem to teach it very well because we still seem to have those divides in our society between those who manage information and those who consume it. And yet, the same consumers who lack the technological literacy are the same ones who have to make decisions everyday about how the government, institutions like colleges, and their own personal technology uses their own personal data and information.

These videos are from the British Museum’s YouTube channel where curator Nicole Rode tells the story of her khipu conservation project, and how it became her favorite object in the British Museum. The episode above is a continuation of the last episode of Curator’s Corner, which you can also watch here:

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Open Textbook Library for Social Work

This is a note that Matthew DeCarlo sent out today. This is of particular interest for myself on two levels. The first is that I have worked with online Social Work degree programs (such as Humboldt State’s online Master’s in Social Work program); and second, this work represents a model of excellence for any discipline wanting to support their students and faculty with openly licensed materials.

Hi everyone!

I recently completed a project (with Anne Marie Gruber, Textbook Equity Librarian at the University of Northern Iowa). Together, we curated a library of open textbooks and scholarly books for social work.

There are over 60 open textbooks relevant to social work education that we found and organized here:

There are over 100 open access books relevant to social work education that we found and organized here:

If you have questions about how to adopt an open textbook or create one of your own, please see this open access teaching note just published in the Journal of Social Work Education:

These are a few updates from my project with Kim Pendell, Social Work & Social Sciences Librarian at Portland State University, Open Social Work. We just published our fall newsletter which highlights fall conference presentations on social work OER that are available on YouTube as well as recent publications of textbooks and journal articles that are openly licensed.

Read it here: And subscribe to our semesterly newsletter here:

Thanks for reading!


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UNESCO Ratifies Recommendation on Open Science

This is an important day for Jennifer Miller and myself, and of course, the whole world really. Everything that we have been working on over the last year hinges upon UNESCO’s ratification of their recommendation on Open Science. Some of the significant work left to be done is to create a culture of Open Science in institutions that are used to paywalls, silos, and proprietary data and information. Miller’s syllabus on Open Science will teach scientists early in their career the value of open data in their own work.

UNESCO Open Science Circle Graphic

Source: UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. CC BY IGO 3.0

This just in from the Creative Commons blog: “Creative Commons (CC) applauds the unanimous ratification of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science at UNESCO’s 41st General Conference. This landmark document is a major step forward towards creating a world in which better sharing of science is open and inclusive by design.

CC is honored to have been part of the global community that drafted, reviewed and revised the Recommendation. We firmly believe open access to knowledge is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition to solving big, complex problems. Better sharing of scientific articles, data and science educational resources is a necessary condition to make progress on solving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the global grand challenges we face today.

As the COVID pandemic and climate change have exemplified, there is an urgent need to accelerate change in how we produce, share, and communicate scientific knowledge. The UNESCO Recommendations on Open Science and Open Educational Resources are international frameworks that can guide national governments, funders, educational institutions, scientists, educators, and civil society organizations as we work to create a world in which open access to knowledge is a basic human right.

The Recommendation sets an international standard for the definition of open science and associated policies and practices to drive better sharing throughout the global science community. It details seven broad areas for action:

  • Promoting a common understanding of open science and its benefits and challenges, as well as diverse paths to open science
  • Developing and enabling a policy environment for open science
  • Investing in open science infrastructures and services
  • Investing in human resources, training, education, digital literacy and capacity building
  • Fostering a culture of open science and aligning incentives
  • Promoting innovative approaches for open science across the scientific process
  • Promoting cooperation in the context of open science to reduce digital, technological and knowledge gaps

For details on the multi-stakeholder consultations, the open science advisory committee, and the UNESCO global open science partnership, please visit the Recommendation on Open Science website.

Of course, adopting the Recommendation for Open Science is just the first step. The real work is in the implementation of the actions. Broad implementation success will require governments to: prioritize this work, partner with international NGOs and other stakeholders working in open science, and work with and learn from other governments. Creative Commons stands ready to partner with national governments, UNESCO, NGOs, and the global research community to implement the actions detailed in this Recommendation to build a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.”

Posted in education | Leave a comment Starts Next Week

Jennifer Miller and I are presenting at this event on the Open Science Syllabus. This just in from #OERcampglobal…

Dear Everyone interested in Open Education! 

It’s only a few days until #OERcampglobal (9–11 Dec)! We’re going to gather for 48 hours of learning and sharing about Open Education and OER. A truly global programme, around the clock, from all over the world. (Of course, no one is expected to participate for the full 48 hours. You can also simply pick 1 or 2 sessions that you are interested in.) 

The schedule already includes almost 100 sessions, with workshops, exchange rounds and talks from India to Chile, Namibia to California, Austria to Indonesia. All online, of course, via Zoom.

Here’s why you should attend:

  1. Learn about projects and ideas on open education and OER in your field!
  2. Network with people from around the world!
  3. Find materials and resources that you can adapt for your work!
  4. It’s gonna be fun!

Learn more at and sign up in 2 minutes! Registration is free and you only need to register once for the entire event, no matter if you want to attend 1 or 48 sessions.

We look forward to seeing you!
Jöran, Kristin, Alica and the entire #OERcamp team

PS: These are just some of almost 100 sessions that have been announced so far:

  • Why I stopped using books in my classes and what has happened since
  • Best Praxis of OER in Higher Education in Russian Federation
  • Teaching mathematics with H5P
  • Contemporary Art & Open Learning: An OER for Artistic Paragogy
  • Please join in: OER metaphors from around the world
  • Computational Thinking for primary schools: What kids need to know about computers
  • A UNESCO Recommendation on OER Annotation Jam
  • Open Pedagogy Project Management: A packing list for success
  • A story of SLCB MOOC: From idea to deployment
  • Create and share interactive content with H5P
  • Building a global network of open education leaders
  • Open Source Belongs In School. Let’s Put It There!
  • Artificial intelligence for Open Education: friend or foe?
  • Searching CC licenced / Copyright free eContent
  • Creating Scalable and Sustainable Initiatives for OER Use and Creation Across a Multi-Campus University System
  • Open Syllabus: The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science
  • see all sessions in our schedule at

Learn more about …
–> The opening session of will start on 9 December at 1 pm UTC+0. We will have 48 hours of sessions and plenary hours, so that everyone can choose the time of the day (or night) to participate in the event.
–> will take place in a format called ‘BarCamp’. This unconference format invites everyone to contribute to the programme. It’s an open and participatory event, made of user-generated workshop-events.
–> OERcamps started in Germany in 2012. They were mentioned in a Horizon Report and received the Open Education Awards for Excellence 2020. To learn more, visit, follow @oercamp on Twitter or subscribe to our news. is hosted by the German Commission for UNESCO and Agentur J&K – Jöran und Konsorten, which has been hosting OERcamps since 2012.

— | #oercampglobal | +49 40 340 686 33 c/o Agentur J&K – Jöran und Konsorten, Schmilinskystr. 45, 20099 Hamburg, Germany The is hosted by the German Commission for UNESCO and Agentur J&K – Jöran und Konsorten.

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An Open Syllabus from OE4BW for Teaching the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

This is from the abstract for a presentation that Jennifer Miller and I did for Open Education Global Conference. I am pretty excited about this work. Open research and open data are often things that scientists and other researchers do not hear about until AFTER they get out of college or at least until grad school, if at all. This bakes Open Science right into the curriculum early on. This is definitely Jennifer’s work and I merely served in an advisory capacity as “faculty mentor” for the Open Education for a Better World program:

Jennifer Miller (Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW),
Geoff Cain (GBC Education Consulting, Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW)

Existing scientific institutions must adopt open science principles and scientists will need local and disciplinary communities of open practice. Scientists-in-training must learn open science principles early in their careers. The 15-week syllabus was created by adapting the open syllabus template of the Creative Commons Certificate Program. The course begins with foundational readings on the role of science in human rights and the SDGs, introduces the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science as a policy process and document, then leads course participants through exploration of individual principles of open science. The open syllabus format invites course leaders to add domain-specific examples. The course is ideally suited to build a local open science community within a lab, school, or department, or within a subject-matter community that spans the globe.

Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW) is an international online mentoring program designed to unlock the potential of Open Education in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this session, a mentor-mentee pair from the fields of public policy and instructional design will share a project in which they develop an open syllabus for a course introducing the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. By providing a forum to build open science communities, the project supports SDG 17, Partnerships for the Goals. Open sharing of scientific knowledge will be essential to realize the SDGs.

The presenters are seeking partners to teach or co-teach courses based on the syllabus starting in Spring 2022, following the Recommendation’s anticipated adoption by the General Conference at its 41st session in November 2021.

Here is the Extended Abstract.
And here is the Draft Syllabus in Google Docs.

If you are interested in talking to us about this or if you are interested in a possible review or pilot later, please leave a comment below or contact me at


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The Future of Education: The Class of 1989

The cover of the February, 1967 Look magazine.

LOOK Magazine, Feb. 21, 1967

This article is reproduced here for annotation purposes and is from an archived copy at Basically what I would like to accomplish here is to apply some of the ideas that Audrey Watter’s applied to Skinner in her book “Teaching Machines” to McLuhan. Why? McLuhan has always been an idol of mine – I would love to see how his thinking holds up in light of Watter’s analysis of Skinner and others.

Please feel free to comment below or avail yourself of the Hypothesis annotation tool which is used by this blog (linked in the upper-right of the blog window). I love McLuhan’s books on media and communication, but does he really get where tech and education are going? What do you think? What is he getting and what is he missing?

The future of education: The class of 1989

by Marshall McLuhan and George B. Leonard
from: LOOK magazine, February 21, pp. 23-25.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS [from: p. 24]
Marshall McLuhan is perhaps the most provocative and controversial thinker of this generation. His books, such as Understanding Media, have challenged many established notions about man and civilization. Now director of the Center for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, Professor McLuhan next fall will take the $100,000-a-year Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at Fordham University in New York. George B. Leonard, West Coast Editorial Manager and senior editor for LOOK, has received more national awards for education writing than anyone in the history of magazine journalism. Leonard often serves as an educational consultant on both the East and West Coast and has a book on education in progress. The authors’ present collaboration grew from a series of intensive discussions in San Francisco and Toronto.

[p. 23] THE TIME IS COMING, if it is not already here, when children can learn far more, far faster in the outside world than within schoolhouse walls. “Why should I go back to school and interrupt my education?” the high-school dropout asks. His question is impudent but to the point. The modern urban environment is packed with energy and information –diverse, insistent, compelling. Four-year-olds, as school innovators are fond of saying, may spend their playtimes discussing the speed, range and flight characteristics of jet aircraft, only to return to a classroom and “string some more of those old beads.” The 16-year-old who drops out of school may be risking his financial future, but he is not necessarily lacking in intelligence. One of the unexpected statistics of recent years comes from Dr. Louis Bright, Associate U.S. Commissioner of Education for Research. His studies show that, in large cities where figures are available, dropouts have higher average IQ scores than high-school graduates.

This danger signal is only one of many now flashing in school systems throughout the world. The signals say that something is out of phase, that most present-day schools may be lavishing vast and increasing amounts of time and energy preparing students for a world that no longer exists. Though this is a time of educational experiments, the real reforms that might be expected have as yet touched only a small proportion of our schools. In an age when even such staid institutions as banks and insurance companies have been altered almost beyond recognition, today’s typical classroom –in physical layout, method and content of instruction– still resembles the classroom of 30 or more years ago.

Resistance to change is understandable and perhaps unavoidable in an endeavor as complex as education, dealing as it does with human lives. But the status quo may not endure much longer. The demands, the very nature of this age of new technology and pervasive electric circuitry, barely perceived because so close at hand, will shape education’s future. By the time this year’s babies have become 1989’s graduates (if college “graduation” then exists), schooling as we now know it may be only a memory.

Mass education is a child of a [p. 25] mechanical [next page] age. It grew up along with the production line. It reached maturity just at that historical moment when Western civilization had attained its final extreme of fragmentation and specialization, and had mastered the linear technique of stamping out products in the mass.

It was this civilization’s genius to manipulate matter, energy and human life by breaking every useful process down into its functional parts, then producing any required number of each. Just as shaped pieces of metal became components of a locomotive, human specialists become components of the great social machine.

In this setting, education’s task was fairly simple: decide what the social machine needs, then turn out people who match those needs. The school’s function was not so much to encourage people to keep exploring, learning and, therefore, changing throughout life as to slow and control those very processes of personal growth and change. Providing useful career or job skills was only a small part of this educational matching game. All students, perhaps more so in the humanities than the sciences and technologies, were furnished standard “bodies of knowledge,” vocabularies, concepts and ways of viewing the world. Scholarly or trade journals generally held a close check on standard perceptions in each special field.

Specialization and standardization produced close resemblance and, therefore, hot competition between individuals. Normally, the only way a person could differentiate himself from the fellow specialists next to him was by doing the same thing better and faster. Competition, as a matter of fact, became the chief motive force in mass education, as in society, with grades and tests of all sorts gathering about them a power and glory all out of proportion to their quite limited function as learning aids.

Then, too, just as the old mechanical production line pressed physical materials into preset and unvarying molds, so mass education tended to treat students as objects to be shaped, manipulated. “Instruction” generally meant pressing information onto passive students. Lectures, the most common mode of instruction in mass education, called for very little student involvement. This mode, one of the least effective ever devised by man, served well enough in an age that demanded only a specified fragment of each human being’s whole abilities. There was, however, no warranty on the human products of mass education.

That age has passed. More swiftly than we can realize, we are moving into an era dazzlingly different. Fragmentation, specialization and sameness will be replaced by wholeness, diversity and, above all, a deep involvement.

Already, mechanized production lines are yielding to electronically controlled, computerized devices that are quite capable of producing any number of varying things out of the same material. Even today, most U.S. automobiles are, in a sense, custom produced. Figuring all possible combinations of styles, options and colors available on a certain new family sports car, for example, a computer expert came up with 25 million different versions of it for a buyer. And that is only a beginning. When automated electronic production reaches full potential, it will be just about as cheap to turn out a million differing objects as a million exact duplicates. The only limits on production and consumption will be the human imagination.

Similarly, the new modes of instantaneous, long-distance human communication –radio, telephone, television–are linking the world’s people in a vast net of electric circuitry that creates a new depth and breadth of personal involvement in events and breaks down the old, traditional boundaries that made specialization possible.

The very technology that now cries out for a new mode of education creates means for getting it. But new educational devices, though important, are not as central to tomorrow’s schooling as are new roles for student and teacher. Citizens of the future will find much less need for sameness of function or vision. To the contrary, they will be rewarded for diversity and originality. Therefore, any real or imagined need for standardized classroom presentation may rapidly fade; the very first casualty of the present-day school system may well be the whole business of teacher-led instruction as we now know it.

Tomorrow’s educator will be able to set about the exciting task of creating a new kind of learning environment. Students will rove freely through this place of learning, be it contained in a room, a building, a cluster of buildings or (as we shall see later) an even larger schoolhouse. There will be no distinction between work and play in the new school, for the student will be totally involved. Responsibility for the effectiveness of learning will be shifted from student to teacher.

As it is now, the teacher has a ready-made audience. He is assured of a full house and a long run. Those students who don’t like the show get flunking grades. If students are free to move anywhere they please, however, there is an entirely new situation, and the quality of the experience called education will change drastically. The educator then will naturally have a high stake in generating interest and involvement for his students.

To be involved means to be drawn in, to interact. To go on interacting, the student must get some-where. In other words, the student and the learning environment (a person, a group of people, a book, a programmed course, an electronic learning console or whatever) must respond to each other in a pleasing and purposeful interplay. When a situation of involvement is set up, the student finds it hard to drag himself away.

The notion that free-roving students would loose chaos on a school comes only from thinking of education in the present mode –as teaching rather than learning– and from thinking of learning as some-thing that goes on mostly in classrooms. A good example of education by free interaction with a responsive environment already exists, right before our eyes. Watch a child learn to talk or, for an even more striking case, watch a five-year-old learn a new language. If the child moves to a foreign country and is allowed to play intensely and freely with neighborhood children-with no language “instruction” whatever-he will learn the new tongue, ac-cent free, in two or three months. if instruction is attempted, however, the child is in trouble.

Imagine, if you will, what would happen if we set the five-year-old down in a classroom, allowed him to leave his seat only at prescribed times, presented only a few new words at a sitting, made him learn each group before going on to the next, drilled him on pronunciation, corrected his “mistakes,” taught him grammar, gave him homework assignments, tested him and-wont of all-convinced him that the whole thing was work rather than play. In such a case, the child might learn the new language as slowly and painfully as do teenagers or adults. Should an adult try to learn a language by intense play and interaction, he would probably do much better than be would in a classroom, but still fall short of a young child’s performance. Why? The adult has already learned the lessons that the old schooling teaches so well: inhibition, self-consciousness, categorization, rigidity and the deep conviction that learning is hard and painful work.

Indeed, the old education gives us a sure-fire prescription for creating dislike of any type of human activity, no matter how appealing it might seem. To stop children from reading comic books (which might be ill-advised), you would only have to assign and test them on their content every week.

Learning a new language is a giant feat, compared to which mastering most of the present school curriculum should prove relatively simple. Long before 1989, all sorts of equipment will be available for producing responsive environments in all the subject matter now commonly taught, and more. Programmed instruction, for example, creates high involvement, since it draws the student along in a sort of dialogue, letting him respond at frequent intervals. Programming at its best lets the student learn commonly-agreed-upon cultural techniques and knowledge-reading, spelling, arithmetic, geography and the like-in his own time, at his own pace. But present-day programming may soon seem crude in light of current developments. Computers will be able to understand students’ written or spoken responses. (Already, they understand typed responses.) When these computers are hooked into learning consoles, the interplay between student and learning program can become even more intense.

When computers are properly used, in fact, they are almost certain to increase individual diversity. A worldwide network of computers will make all of mankind’s factual knowledge available to students everywhere in a matter of minutes or seconds. Then, the human brain will not have to serve as a repository of specific facts, and the uses of memory will shift in the new education, breaking the timeworn, rigid chains of memory may have greater priority than forging new links. New materials may be learned just as were the great myths of [p. 25] past cultures-as fully integrated systems that resonate on several levels and share the qualities of poetry and song.

Central school computers can also help keep track of students as they move freely from one activity to another, whenever moment-by-moment or year-by-year records of students’ progress are needed. This will wipe out even the administrative justification for schedules and regular periods, with all their anti-educational effects, and will free teachers to get on with the real business of education. Even without computers, however, experimental schools (see The Moment of Learning, LOOK, December 27, 1966) are now finding that fixed schedules and restrictions on students’ movements are artificial and unnecessary.

Television will aid students in exploring and interacting with a wide-ranging environment. It will, for example, let them see into the atom or out into space; visualize their own brainwaves; create artistic patterns of light and sound; become involved with unfamiliar old or new ways of living, feeling, perceiving; communicate with other learners, wherever in the world they may be.

Television will be used for involvement, for two-way communication, whether with other people or other environmental systems. It will most certainly not be used to present conventional lectures, to imitate the old classroom. That lectures frequently do appear on educational television points up mankind’s common practice of driving pell-mell into the future with eyes fixed firmly on the rearview mirror. The content of each brand new medium thus far has always been the ordinary stuff of the past environment.

The student of the future will truly be an explorer, a researcher, a huntsman who ranges through the new educational world of electric circuitry and heightened human interaction just as the tribal huntsman ranged the wilds. Children, even little children, working alone or in groups, will seek their own solutions to problems that perhaps have never been solved or even conceived as problems. It is necessary here to distinguish this explore story activity from that of the so-called “discovery method,” championed by some theorists, which is simply a way of leading children around to standard perceptions and approved solutions.

Future educators will value, not fear, fresh approaches, new solutions. Among their first tasks, in fact, may be unlearning the old, unacknowledged taboos on true originality. After that, they may well pick up a new driving style in which they glance into the rearview mirror when guidance from the past is needed but spend far more time looking forward into the unfamiliar, untested country of the present and future.

In a sense, the mass-produced student of the present and past always turned out to be a commodity-replaceable, expendable. The new student who makes his own educational space, his own curriculum and even develops many of his own learning methods will be unique, irreplaceable.

What will motivate the new student? Wide variations between individuals will make competition as we now know it irrelevant and, indeed, impossible. Unstandardized life will not provide the narrow measures needed for tight competition, and schools will find it not only unnecessary but nearly impossible to give ordinary tests or grades. Motivation will come from accomplishment itself; no one has to be forced to play. Form and discipline will spring from the very nature of the matter being explored, just as it does in artistic creation. If the student of the future may be compared with the child at play, he also resembles the artist at work.

The little red schoolhouse will become the little round schoolhouse.

A strange dilemma seems to arise: It appears that, with the new modes of learning, all the stuff of present-day education can be mastered much more quickly and easily than ever before. Right now, good programmed instruction is cutting the time for learning certain basic material by one-half or one-third. What will students do with all the time that is going to be gained? The problem is not a real one. With students constantly researching and exploring, each discovery will on up a new area for study. There is no limit on learning.

We are only beginning to realize what a tiny slice of human possibilities we now educate. In fragmenting all of existence, Western civilization hit upon one aspect, the literate and rational, to develop at the expense of the rest. Along with this went a lopsided development of one of the senses, the visual. Such personal and sensory specialization was useful in a mechanical age, but is fast becoming outmoded. Education will be more concerned with training the senses and perceptions than with stuffing brains. And this will be at no loss for the “intellect.” Studies show a high correlation between sensory, bodily development –now largely neglected– and intelligence.

Already, school experimenters are teaching written composition with tape recorders (just as students play with these marvelous devices) in an attempt to retrain the auditory sense, to recapture the neglected rhythms of speech. Already, experimental institutes are working out new ways to educate people’s neglected capacities to relate, to feel, to sense, to create. Future schooling may well move into many unexplored domains of human existence. People will learn much in 1989 that today does not even have a commonly accepted name.

Can we view this future, the hard and fast of it? Never, for it will always come around a corner we never noticed, take us by surprise. But studying the future helps us toward understanding the present. And the present offers us glimpses, just glimpses: Seven-year-olds (the slowest of them) sitting at electronic consoles finishing off, at their own pace, all they’ll ever need in the basic skills of reading, writing and the like: eight-year-olds playing games that teach what we might call math or logic in terms of, say, music and the sense of touch; nine-year-olds joining together in large plastic tents to build environments that give one the experience of living in the Stone Age or in a spaceship or in an even more exotic place-say, 19th-century America: ten-year-olds interacting with five-year olds, showing them the basics (now unknown) of human relations or of the relationships between physical movements and mental states. In all of this, the school –that is, an institution of learning confined to a building or buildings– can continue to hold a central position only if it changes fast enough to keep pace with the seemingly inevitable changes in the outside world. The school experience can well become so rich and compelling that there will be no dropouts, only determined drop-ins. Even so, the walls between school and world will continue to blur.

Already it is becoming clear that the main “work” of the future will be education. that people will not so much earn a living as learn a living. Close to 30 million people in the U.S. are now pursuing some form of adult education, and the number shoots skyward. Industry and the military, as well as the arts and sciences, are beginning to consider education their main business.

The university is fast becoming not an isolated bastion but an integral part of the community. Eventually, nearly every member of a community may be drawn into its affairs. The university of the future could offer several degrees of “membership,” from everyday full-time participation to subscriptions to its “news service,” which would be received in the home on electronic consoles.

Already, though not many journalists or college presidents realize it, the biggest news of our times is coming from research in the institutions of higher learning –new scientific discoveries, new ways of putting together the webs of past and current history, new means for apprehending and enjoying the stuff of sensory input, of interpersonal relations, of involvement with all of life.

The world communications net, the all-involving linkage of electric circuitry, will grow and become more sensitive. It will also develop new modes of feedback so that communication can become dialogue instead of monologue. It will breach the wall between “in” and “out” of school. It will join all people everywhere. When this has happened, we may at last realize that our place of learning is the world itself, the entire planet we live on. The little red schoolhouse is already well on its way toward becoming the little round schoolhouse.

Someday, all of us will spend our lives in our own school, the world. And education –in the sense of learning to love, to grow, to change– can become not the woeful preparation for some job that makes us less than we could be but the very essence, the joyful whole of existence itself. END

FULL CITATION: McLuhan, M., & Leonard, G. B. (1967). The future of education: The class of 1989. Look, February 21, 23-24.

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Master’s Degree: Leadership in Open Education

logo of University of Nova GoricaThis just in from my contacts from the UNESCO program, Open Education for a Better World:

University of Nova Gorica and the UNESCO chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning have launched an international Master’s Degree Program Leadership in Open Education and are inviting candidates to join the second generation of students, starting their study in October 2021. The program supports implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on OER by providing excellent capacity building opportunities in this field. Students will be guided by an international team of experts towards understanding connections between strategic, pedagogical, technological, business and social aspects of Open Education. Graduates will master development and implementation of Open Education from the level of courses and study programs to institutional, national and transnational levels. They will be able to competently lead projects, initiatives, communities and strategic development in the field of Open Education in academic or non-academic environment. Study will be carried out prevailingly or completely on-line, depending on circumstances. Candidates are invited to apply. They can also send a message to to get information about options for financial support or to make an appointment for individual consultations. The call for admissions is open and ends on 1 July, 2021.

More information:

I think that it is great that this program exists. More and more colleges and institutions are turning toward OER, open textbooks, and open practices in general. We will need this expertise as institutions make the culture shift to open. Spread the word. If you have participated in similar programs or know of others, feel free to add them in the comments below.

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OER:  Matrix Algebra with Computational Applications 

This just in from Regina Gong via the Internets. I am particularly interested in interactive, openly-licensed math textbooks and materials:
Cover of Matrix Algebra with Computational Applications

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all are having a great almost weekend.

I’m here to announce yet another excellent OER from our MSU Libraries OER Program. It is called Matrix Algebra with Computational Applications by Dr. Dirk Colbry.

All of the OER materials that Dirk has created are provided as Jupyter notebooks, which are open-source tools that integrate multiple resources (websites, word processors, LaTeX, math, and programming) into a digital notebook. The OER were developed specifically for students and instructors working in a flipped classroom model. This means that hands-on problem-solving activities are done during class meetings, with students watching lectures and completing readings and assignments outside of the class. You will find a link to Dirk’s website as a button in the Pressbooks page. And like what Dirk mentioned in his website, if you are an educator and want to adopt his OER along with other instructor resources, please feel free contact him at

This brings our total OER publications to ten so far and I couldn’t be more elated. You all know that we are working on many more to contribute to the open education community so please watch out. 

Thanks everyone and I hope you share widely with your colleagues.

Regina Gong

This ticks off the boxes for a lot of things I am interested in: Pressbooks, Jupyter Notebooks, and teaching math. If you know of similar projects or materials, feel free to contact me or comment below. Thanks!

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Pressbooks and H5P from BC Campus

BC Campus logoThese are some rough notes from a BC Campus workshop I attended. These workships via BC Campus are an incredibly useful resource for faculty, curriculum designers, instructional designers and anyone interested in teaching, learning and technology. The utility of my notes are in the links. The “accuracy” of the notes merely reflect my interests.

Today, Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 am, I attended a webinar from the BC Campus on Pressbooks and H5P for creating interactive textbooks. I am interested in how they are doing that AND how they are supporting it institutionally. This presentation was facilitated by Alan Levine and featured Steel Wagstaff, Educational Product Manager for Pressbooks who shared much about the features and capabilities of Pressbooks, how H5P integrates with it, examples worth looking at, and provided some insights into future directions for the platform.

I have linked below some of the interesting links and examples provided.

Steel Wagstaff is coming from Wisconsin where they were working on open homework systems to remove the financial barriers created by commercial textbook publishers..

Wisconsin is using H5P because it is open and works well with Pressbooks. With H5P, they are able to put in interactive components into open textbooks that are hosted in Pressbooks.

Here are some of the things that they were looking for:

  • Accessibility
  • Open Source
  • Interoperable
  • Supports Annotations
  • Interactivity in an activity pane,
  • Connects to the Moodle gradebook.

Wagstaff gave examples of tools that were home grown and found problems with programmers moving on or retiring.

They have a Porteguese language book with embedded recordings and activities.
This was an early project in Pressbooks and H5P in Wisconsin. This book saw improvements in student learning. They were able to bring interactive textbooks to subjects that were not even covered by commercial textbooks like Tibetan.

Hypothesis and H5P will eventually speak to one another.

Pressbooks network with H5P installed.

There was a review of H5P and the different categories or kinds of activities that are available:

  • Simple quizzes
  • Image related activities
    • including virtual tours using annotated 360 degree pictures
  • Interactive videos
    • video can be stored anywhere
    • YouTube,
    • Vimeo,
    • home server, etc.
  • Complex learning activities
    • course presentation,
    • interactive book,
    • and branching scenario)

The branching activities that are basically a rival to Captivate or Storyline.

Arley Curruthers Corona Virus Journal

You can make new activities or adapt from a library of already created content.

There are great resources about what is happening now in h5p at:

Metadata fields are critical because they let you know what the re-use rights are and what learning objectives are addressed by the learning object.

OER Activity Sourcebook

We looked at the to find books that were openly licensed with H5P activities.

Users can be able to easily list and find the different activities in a book.

I am particularly interested in this work because one of the big arguments for commercial textbook publishers and homework platforms, is that textbooks need more interactivity (therefore we should contract with them). H5P is a way to easily include that interactivity.

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