OCW People's Choice Award Winner: Best User Experience

Aug 16, 2011

The category of Best User Experience was a unique one. We actually had one school competing against itself for the prize! A positive user experience is a crucial part of any web initiative, and the nominees in this category have made an extra effort to make sure that their free educational resources are easy to navigate as well as informative.

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Winner: UC Irvine OCW, Science from Superheroes to Global Warming

Best User Experience

'Way to go! You have really found a way to take a complicated subject area and break it down into understandable parts. Thank you.' -William F. McCartin

In the category of Best User Experience, the University of California Irvine was actually in competition with itself. Our readers voted its 'Science from Superheroes to Global Warming' as the best OCW experience even over UC Irvine's general OCW collection. There must be something about this class, taught by Professor Michael Dennin, that speaks to learners from many backgrounds.

As its catchy name implies, 'Science from Superheroes to Global Warming' is a general science course heavy on fundamental concepts and philosophies and light on mathematics. Its primary goal is to teach students scientific literacy - in fact, the textbook it uses, authored by Dennin and John White, is entitled Science Appreciation: Introduction to Science Literacy. Science literacy, if you're wondering, means being able to recognize and apply the core principles of scientific methodology and experimentation in everyday life.


Finalist: UC Irvine OCW

Voter Christine Jackson says that 'UC Irvine has a great site with a nice mix of courses and videos' and it appears that many other voters agree! Since 2006, the University of California - Irvine has been a major proponent of the OCW movement; in fact, they were the first West Coast school to join the OpenCourseWare Consortium. Their massive OCW archive contains numerous courses in a number of subject areas, mostly aimed at adult learners interested in continuing education. All their courses allow users the option of enrolling in for-credit equivalents at their school, providing students with a way to transform a major interest in OCW into academic credentials with ease.

Finalist: Middle East Technical University

This impressive repository of knowledge based out of Turkey offers material from 83 courses in subjects like civil engineering, geographic information technology and psychology. They tout their resource as helpful to students who need extra study material, faculty members preparing for a new class or motivated self-learners looking for a little extra knowledge. Many users around the world can benefit from what Twitter follower @adriannmatthewn calls a 'very technical' educational resource.

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