Open Access Learning Environments, Kenneth Mentor, Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Vol. 10, Spring 2007. From the abstract: Educational institutions are increasingly adopting â€œclosedâ€ learning environments that hide learning materials in password-protected areas. While this may be a logical solution to a range of problems, much is lost in this mode of course delivery. Although there are logical reasons for moving toward closed environments, we may be erring too far on the side of caution. Educators and administrators are encouraged to consider the advantages of alternative models that respect the need for privacy while opening learning opportunities to a wider population.
Many of today’s online learning environments are private. This privacy is the consequence of institutional decisions that have resulted in the closing of learning environments to all but those who have officially enrolled in an institution or particular course. While many of these decisions are logical from an administrative standpoint, educators interested in making learning opportunities available to the masses may have a different perspective. While the Internet creates the opportunity to publish learning opportunities that are available to millions, at relatively low cost, educational institutions are increasingly responding to issues of privacy and intellectual property by hiding entire learning environments behind passwords.’