OCW People's Choice Award Winner: Best Emerging Initiative

In 2011, OpenCourseWare celebrated its tenth anniversary with a conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a place many consider to be the birthplace of the OCW movement. OCW has been around a lot longer than many people think, but it's also continually growing, changing and expanding. The Best Emerging Initiative category highlights the most exciting new projects in the world of OCW. Our winner and finalists represent the best of what's next.

Winner: African Virtual University

Best Emerging Initiative

A Facebook comment says it best: 'This initiative has offered a young African from the poorest areas access to the best education without having to move to another continent.'

It may seem strange to classify anything related to the AVU as an 'emerging' initiative; the school's been operating since 1997 in some capacity. It began as a Washington, D.C. project meant to increase access to quality education in Africa through technological training. In 2002 it moved its base of operations to Kenya, and in 2003 the AVU became a chartered intergovernmental African organization. Since then, although its core mission hasn't changed, its scope certainly has - the AVU currently operates in 27 countries with support from over 50 traditional universities.

Of great interest to the OCW movement, it was decided early on in AVU's developmental process that all courses created for their bachelor's degree programs were to be released as OER, or open educational resources. In January 2011, those resources were officially launched, and OER@AVU was born. The site currently hosts 73 open educational modules divided into a variety of topics: 46 courses in math and science, 19 in teacher education, four in basic ICT (information and communication technology) skills and four in ICT classroom integration.

Finalist: APTIKOM

APTIKOM, described as 'innovative and on-track' by one of our voters, is an Indonesian technological collective that brings over a quarter of its country's universities together to work towards a common goal of increasing knowledge and aptitude in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math). Currently over 600,000 Indonesian students benefit from APTIKOM's shared knowledge; not bad for an 'emerging' initiative!

Finalist: Process Arts

Process.arts looks to document the daily practice of artists and teachers at the University of Arts London in a variety of areas as diverse as ceramics, fashion and animation. One voter especially responded to its 'simplicity in developing new alternatives, capable of changing opinions and feelings.' Site designers John Casey and Chris Follows believe that by providing an open community in which to catalog professional practice, students in those disciplines will gain a better grasp of what such work involves. Students are also given the tools to document their own practice, making the process of learning new skills more engaging.

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