Few weeks ago when I was at an IT academic Institute, In my hand, I was holding some printed lecturer notes of a reputed university in Sri Lanka. One of the lecturers at there saw that and said, “Are you following any course there? Those lecturer notes are available only for the students who study at there. They never release those study materials in the public” Oh really? I just felt a lucky feeling. Actually, I was not a student of there, and I never had followed any course at there.
When comparing with the rest of the world where we are now as a country, as an educated society? How we collaborate. What is our contribution for the freely available knowledge into the world?
Knowledge should be freely available for everyone! It is not something to sell. It’s not something to hide away from others and make available for limited parties. This is the opinion of most intellectuals around the world now.
In centuries ago past, education and knowledge were something expensive which available only for some limited parties. Sometimes females and some minorities were not able to attend and learn at institutions.
World has changed so rapidly. Now, the information and knowledge available for free in various media. Any enthusiast individual can learn about any subject at least for some extent by using freely available knowledge on the Internet. The only limitative factor is having a computer, an internet connection and ability of reading. Some leading and highest reputed academic institutes around the world like MIT and Harvard university working on sharing their lecturer notes/presentations and classroom videos freely available to the world generously. We can adduce MIT open course ware project as an example. It is ridiculous to see when some local institutions are attempting to hide their course ware from the public.
Some “well frogs” in academia of Sri Lanka still don’t know about what goes around the world. “Never upload your presentations on slideshare.” I remember what which said by one of my co-workers!
Sharing these information with rest of the world reveals the business strategies to the competitive academic institutes (private sector). Someone argues!
What we expect from the academic institutes? Whether it is belonged to the public sector or private sector, I think their utmost purpose should be more than just providing raw information to their students! Anyone can find any information related to any subject quickly by using the Internet. We always expect something beyond that from these institutions. They should train their students to how to think critically, how to discover new knowledge and how to collaborate and share knowledge with others. Sharing course-ware would be a threaten for some academic institutions those who are dealing with just information! I have seen some lecturers are discouraging the Internet usage of the students. “Internet is full of craps, which lot of false information contain. Never rely on it!” They may be afraid for get questioned back by the students. Are they afraid of exposing their nudity or losing the authority of knowledge?
Knowledge available on the Internet should not be a challenge to the teachers and academic institutes. When they realize their utmost duty, they can take an additional leverage by encouraging their students to use the Internet and explore knowledge. It may be the school, government or private sector university. This is the right time to think back and realize what should be the purpose and what should be the modern teacher’s role in the classroom in this modern era; information society. Because just selling freely available knowledge is a cheap business!