Open High School of Utah

Open High School of Utah Logo I've mentioned a few times on Twitter that I'm on the board of directors for the Open High School of Utah and some people have asked to know more.

The Open High School of Utah is an online public charter high school based on open source course content. Not "open source" in the software sense, but "open source" in the sense that all the course content is openly licensed. We're taking applications for 9th grade in Fall 2009 right now. Utah students attend for free.

The open courseware model is one that's been working for some time at MIT, but as far as I know this is the first high school committed to a complete, accredited, 9-12 grade education on open source course content. It's not as easy as I assumed when the idea was first put to me. There are some gaps to close.

A key aspect of the model is that with open course content, the content can be modified based on data about what works and what doesn't. With licensed content (and there are several sources for that), you can't modify it because of copyright issues. And you certainly can't redistribute the updates.

This idea of iteratively improving the course through data is one of the research interests of Professor David Wiley, a fellow board member and the founder of the high school. He's a big proponent of open content and writes an open content blog.

This is a fun project. I'm learning a lot and there are very many people who are anxious to find ways to reinvent education. Openness and education go together. We need to get back to that model. Current, entrenched, incumbent business interests (text book publishers, school districts, and others) won't go there. But others can and I'm excited to be part of those explorations.