We at The Saylor Foundation understand that it is not always easy to take online courses that require reading materials online, especially if you’re used to attending classes in a traditional setting. To help you make the most of our courses – and your open education – as part of a recurring series we will provide you with recommended resources and tools here on The Saylor Journals. If you come across a resource or tool that you’d like to share with us or think we should blog about, please leave a comment or send an email to [email protected]Last month, I was fortunate to head over to the National Museum of Natural History to hear Anya Kamenetz present her theories on the future of higher education. For those of you not familiar with Ms. Kamenetz, she is a columnist for Fast Company, and has penned three books: Generation Debt, DIY U, and The Edupunks’ Guide to a DIY Credential.

In the presentation, she spoke of her background (a self-proclaimed “faculty brat”), issues with the current higher education system (particularly Generation Y turning into Generation Debt), and, most interesting, the role of technology in the future of higher education. As she stated in her presentation, and in a recent interview with Shareable.net, her qualms with the current system of higher education (in line with the Saylor Foundation’s views) include high cost, poor access, and questionable quality, all causes of many people not receiving the education they desire. Higher education must innovate and the answer is open education.

Perhaps the most notable takeaway from that presentation was Kamenetz’s most recent book, The Edupunks’ Guide to a DIY Credential. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Edupunks’ Guide is “a comprehensive guide to learning online and charting a personalized path to an affordable credential using the latest innovative tools and organizations.” The guide is designed keeping in mind the so-called “Edupunk,” a recently debated term that, according to Ms. Kamenetz, means someone “who doesn’t fit the traditional college mold because of their interests or circumstances but who are interested in learning and furthering their educations.” It provides advice on doing research online, writing a personal learning plan, along with several other areas including how to earn a credential.

Be sure to browse The Edupunks’ Guide, which is available for a free download here [edit 04/2017: a copy is available via the Internet Archive, here]. I think you’ll come away with some excellent resources. An extra bonus: you’ll find the name of your favorite foundation in the guide. Yes, that’s right: head over to page 76 of the guide to see a review of our courses! We are forever grateful to Ms. Kamenetz for including Saylor.org as an Open Content destination.

And, if you’re interested in viewing her presentation, you’re in luck! The Smithsonian recorded the presentation and has made it available here. Check it out – and stayed tuned to The Saylor Journals for more helpful resource and tools.