Reclaim Open Learning

better online learning for higher ed



The internet is an amazing place for learning. But recent high-profile forays into online learning for higher education seem to replicate a traditional lecture-based, course-based model of campus instruction, instead of embracing the peer-to-peer connected nature of the web. The networked and digital world offers an unprecedented wealth of resources for engaged, interest-driven, lifelong learning. Reclaim Open Learning intervenes in this debate by supporting and showcasing innovation that brings together the best of truly open, online and networked learning in the wilds of the Internet, with the expertise represented by institutions of higher education.

Reclaim Open Learning is a collaboration between the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at UC Irvine and the MIT Media Lab. The thematic initiative is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.


Reclaim Open Learning is a group effort. A small organizing team leads different aspects of the project.

David Theo Goldberg

Mimi Ito

Anya Kamenetz

Elizabeth Losh

Philipp Schmidt

david mimi anya liz



To address these questions and goals, Reclaim Open Learning is engaged in the following activities in 2013:

* Hackathon (MIT Media Lab, April 5-7)
* Innovation Contest (June 1-August 30)
* Public symposium (September 26-27, 2013 University of California Irvine, Calit2)
* Documentation/storytelling of innovations (Online and Ongoing)

MacArthur Foundation and the Digital Media & Learning Initiative

* What kinds of innovations in pedagogy and online development best support and broaden access to meaningful and engaged forms of education for independent learners everywhere?
* What are independent learners doing now that deserves support, recognition, and scaling up?
* How can colleges and universities engage with the social, participatory, and open learning ecology of the Internet in ways that go beyond purveying and scaling existing content and offerings online?
* What kinds of infrastructures, policies, and business models can support more participatory and peer-based forms of post-secondary learning?
* How can we build hybrid programs and platforms that meld the grassroots capacity and peer-based learning of the net with the knowledge, expertise, and credibility of institutionalized research and education?

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conversation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. The MacArthur Foundation launched its digital media and learning initiative in 2006 to explore how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life, and what that means for their learning in the 21st century. More information on the digital media and learning initiative is available at