A call for ideas and discussion:
I just returned from AAA and Maha's post prompted reflection about privilege, elitism and power in the academic world. I attended two presentations about Massively Open Online Courses, and was struck by both the numbers of students enrolled (in the thousands) as well as the slickness of the courses. Both benefited from instructional designers, professional-quality videos, but more so, from the market position of the well-established and well-known institutions who attached their brand name, their logos, and their prestige to the courses. Neither of these two courses, or the people who taught them, really 'got' the notion of openness, sharing, broadly distributing content available to remix, reconfigure and redistribute.
When asked about the motivations to create and teach the courses, among the reasons the presenters cited was the notion that, if their institution didn't do this, someone else will, and it was a necessity to promote a comparative advantage that they had developed, a special expertise in a certain field, or to leverage their brand position, both expected reasons from a strategic business perspective. But the decision to develop and distribute how they did also serves to reinforce and perpetuate a colonialist and even a paternalistic pattern of elite educators and institutions. Maha's post is a welcome step in a different direction.