I finally found some time to read the Cape Town OER Declaration, and a selection from the deluge of comments that have piled up in my RSS reader the past weeks. Given the critical tone of most of these, I was expecting something very fundamentally flawed.
The declaration is an initiative of the Shuttleworth Foundation (yes, that's the same Shuttleworth as the one in Ubuntu). The purpose of the declaration is to accelerate the international effort to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education. Unfortunately many advocates of open learning have not really welcomed the declaration with open arms.
A noteworthy example of this can be found in the blog Half an Hour: Criticizing the Cape Town Declaration by Stephen Downes. While I normally find Stephens post very eloquent, I cannot support many of the arguments he makes. It leaves me with the impression that his main point (and that of many others) is that they are a bit miffed of they weren't consulted. To me the whole 'let's decide everything in a big all encompassing committee' culture is exactly the reason that hardly anything ever gets done, or done properly in education. Open source communities understand that democracies don't work. A benevolent dictator, or a meritocracy (or both) is what you need. I'm sure Mark Shuttleworth understood exactly that when he limited participation in drafting this initial declaration.
I for one support the initiative. I'm going to sign up for it now, and I would invite you to consider the same.
... Which reminds me, I still need to formally license the stuff on here with a creative commons license...
oo Martin Weller v