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Unlocking the Gates:
How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses
Taylor Walsh for Ithaka S+R
With a foreword by William G. Bowen

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Walsh's book stimulates reflection. . . . Too, it provides substantial reality testing with respect to the large number of practical issues spawned by the OER movement."--Donald J. Foss, PsycCRITIQUES

"The book is an eye-opener, supported by ample footnotes and extensive interviews (if not with enthusiastic users like myself), as well as financial records and others sources."--John Wilinsky, Teachers College Record

"The [book] is a rich portrait of the history and prospects of these courseware efforts, the aspirations and concerns of their principals, their academic content and connections to their sponsoring universities, and their contrasting business models. While the author's sensibility and vocabulary come from management (rather than, say, technology, education, or sociology), the book should be accessible to readers from a wide range of backgrounds."--Mary Taylor Huber, Change


"Presidents and provosts can't afford to ignore the open/online courseware developments analyzed by Taylor Walsh in Unlocking the Gates. Walsh's exploration of leading initiatives in the open sharing of digital course materials makes it clear that the unbundling of materials creation, course design, and pedagogy is well underway and will have profound implications for the structure of faculty work. That is, the gates are not just unlocked: the barn door is standing wide open."--Jo Ellen Parker, president of Sweet Briar College

"I have been on record for some time as being skeptical about the likely effects on productivity in higher education of various new technologies. . . . But the evidence that Walsh presents about the work at Carnegie Mellon has caused me to re-think my position. . . . Unlocking the Gates is a splendid introduction to a fascinating and fast-changing world. Unless I am badly mistaken, over time all sectors of higher education will be affected in one way or another by what are truly transformational changes in the way knowledge is created and disseminated. Now that increasing numbers of universities, including some of the most prestigious, are using technology to let the world into their precincts, it will never again be possible to lock the gates."--from the foreword by William G. Bowen, president emeritus, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University

"New technologies and budget austerity have increased the urgency to experiment with online learning in higher education, both on campus and distance learning. It is extremely timely that Taylor Walsh presents and analyzes case studies of selective universities' attempts to develop online courseware. There is very much to be learned about business models, the hopes and fears of faculty and administrators, and the organizational structures and cultures of the universities involved from these clearly written and always provocative studies of Yale, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, Columbia, and a program in India. Unlocking the Gates will be essential reading for those interested in online learning, indeed for those thinking about the evolution of higher education in the United States and globally."--Henry Bienen, president emeritus, Northwestern University

"This book tells an interesting and important story. The research is fabulous and probing, and the storyline is wonderfully focused on leadership and the decisions it makes in circumstances that are constantly evolving and uncertain."--Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for academic planning, programs, and coordination, University of California

"Unlocking the Gates tells the story of how a number of selective universities are venturing into the world of online education. Taylor Walsh explores the motivations, successes and failures, and prospects of these projects, asking whether they are worthy in their own right and whether they are the right moves for these universities."--Saul Fisher, associate provost, Hunter College, City University of New York

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File created: 4/24/2017

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