The coalition of universities could shake up online learning, textbook publishing, learning software, and other intellectual property created and used by higher ed institutions.
According to Unizin’s founders, a key goal of the project is to ensure that universities and their faculty stay in control of content they create, collectively owning the infrastructure that will deliver that content both on and off campuses. Another goal is to use open-standards software to create interoperability and to help scale digital education.
Unizin member schools will have access to services for sharing course content and analyzing how effective the teaching is for that content.
In a blog announcing their ambitions, co-founders Brad Wheeler, CIO and business school professor at Indiana University, and James Hilton, vice provost for digital education initiatives and information professor at the University of Michigan, pointed to lessons learned when universities failed to control their content.
“Research universities largely left the publication of journals to others, and that has not worked out well,” Hilton and Wheeler wrote. “We now pay an escalating, collective billions to rent the right to read our own scholarship each year.”