Summer 2009, I had a DIY project I didn’t know how to do. I had an 18″ square hole in my roof that I knew needed to be fixed so that it did not leak, or I would be doing even more projects I wouldn’t know how (or want) to do. I’m not a confident DIY guy, but I am very comfortable trying to get answers to questions from the web. I think it’s safe to say that this is a non-traditional way to go about fixing a roof, but I didn’t even give it second thought. Just sat down and began to search, fully expecting to find information (hopefully with pictures) that would guide me through the process.
I soon found a site that appeared to have what I was looking for, but they wanted me to sign up and pay money to get to the page with the information I was looking for. I wasn’t about to pay for something that I expected to find for free, with just a little more searching.
Only a few minutes later I found someone’s blog where they had outlined the process of patching a hole in a roof–the steps were outlined and explained with photographs. I followed the steps and am very pleased to say that the roof not only looks good but it has not leaked or given me any kind of trouble.
For my post today, I wanted to talk about two non-traditional ways we’re publishing some learning content from Novell.
I talked in my last post about how training could be defined as, simply, getting answers to questions. I also mentioned that the traditional classroom training model for IT professionals is having to make room for other methods of delivery. What I have to talk about today is our OpenCourseWare (OCW) website and our NovellLearning YouTube channel. These places are non-traditional sources where you can get answers to questions–to some of your questions, at least.
OCW is part of a larger movement known as Open Education. The OCW model is based very much on the principle followed with open source software. In this model, educational content is freely shared under the Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). Novell has released educational content under this license and it’s available at http://ocw.novell.com.
I would like to point out that the Virtualization White Paper I posted a week or so ago is now available on this site. You’ll also see the SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Fundamentals course on this site. We’re working on getting more content, on more recent topics, on this site soon.
An interesting question always comes up when people find out that we’re releasing content on our OCW site. People wonder how we expect to continue to make money on training. As an answer, I like to point people to http://ocw.mit.edu. On this site, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has released the materials for 2000 MIT courses. You might expect their enrollments to suffer if they’re giving their content away, yet it’s had the opposite effect. Enrollments have increased at MIT since they launched this site and many students say that seeing the course content beforehand is what motivated them to go to MIT.
Now, to the NovellLearning channel on YouTube. This collection of (mostly) educational videos has not been around long, but it has generated a fair amount of traffic. The short pieces of video on this channel are designed to be self-contained, meaning they are meant to completely cover a given topic or task. For example, we’ve got videos that cover topics like; SLED 11 installation, analyzing memory utilization in SLES 11, creating custom reports in ZCM 10, and IDM 3.5 Update Designer, to name just a few.
We know that, increasingly, people go to the web to get answers to questions and they expect to find those answers, for free. We want to be found in places like our OCW site and YouTube because we know that’s where people are looking. It’s non-traditional but it’s becoming the expected norm.