Hillary Clinton’s Legacy for Open Education

Hillary Clinton’s Legacy for Open Education

Just days before ending her term as U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the Open Book Project, an initiative to expand access to free, high-quality open educational resources.

The first Open Book Project will focus on Arabic-language open educational resources (OER) and the translation of existing OER into Arabic. They plan to disseminate the resources free of charge through a partnership with the Arab League.

On the larger backdrop of open education, the initiative:

  • offers training and support to governments, educators, and students to put existing resources to use and develop their own, and
  • raises awareness of the potential of open educational resources and promotes uptake of online learning materials.

We in the OER language learning community will be eager to see how the initiative develops in the area of collaboration and creating a sustainable model that can be duplicated for other languages and areas of the world. The U.S. government brings technical expertise to the table and the Arab league countries bring content expertise. This is a model for global education.

If we agree that sustainability of open education depends on finding reciprocal relationships — mutual benefit — between those involved, what projects can we dream of that would feature international collaborators? What does U.S. higher education have to offer the developing world and what do they have to give U.S. higher ed?

Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.
— Form Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton


  1. There is LOTS of talk about how OER can serve the developing world. But the fact remains that OER are still produced and consumed largely by the developed countries with little input from the developing world. I realize that it is up to end users to customize OER to the local context. But the digital divide remains. We will need more collaborative projects that involved developing countries if we are going to realize the *global* potential of OER. Here is a report from the Canadian Commonwealth of Learning (COL) that illustrates the problem: only %.04 of OER originate from Africa!

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