If the mantra of ‘any news is good news’ is accurate, then you’ve got to hand it to Pearson and their OpenClass announcement for dominating the public discussions leading into Educause – Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle, Campus Technology, countless blog entries – and even NPR Marketplace – all since Thursday.  That’s quite a bit of press for a new, free LMS for higher ed.  I’ve been late to the game in posting on OpenClass, so I’ll dispense with any overview of the news.  I find it interesting to observe how the public discussions frame the issue.  It seems that quite a few discussions are trying to put OpenClass into the comfortable box of today’s LMS model, but some are starting to see the potential disruptive nature of the new service.

There is some healthy skepticism out there, probably best described by Audrey Watters, Joshua Kim and Music for Deckchairs.  I agree that we should not be convinced of the value of the service before we see more content and description of the service, are allowed to test out a course, and understand whether Pearson’s long-term business interests will support a free and open platform.  We should especially watch for whether the service remains free without hidden catches and whether it truly is content neutral.  Healthy skepticism should be the default mode for any unproven ed tech announcement.

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