Day 2 at the OpenCourseWare Consortium Conference on Free Education

May 05, 2011

After a long, fascinating day one, the Study.com team began day two of the OpenCourseWare Consortium conference with high hopes. The line up of events and speakers did not disappoint! Read on to learn more about what we've learned about free education around the world.

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by Stacy Redd

Learning About OCW Users

The OCW Consortium's Executive Director, Mary Lou Forward, began the day by unveiling the results of a survey that the consortium ran. Study.com also ran the survey, and we've discussed our results in a series of blog articles, including this one on the types of OCW resources people are looking for. In addition to unveiling the survey results, Mary Lou Forward shared that there are currently 18,000 OCW courses, including translations!

Collaboration, Localization and Certification in OCW Initiatives

We were blown away by the morning panel session, which featured representatives from three emerging OCW projects.

Bakary Diallo of the African Virtual University spoke about his organization's efforts to bring open learning to students and faculty across the African continent. Since 1997, the African Virtual University's e-learning network has trained 40,000 students! The training focuses on teacher training in subjects like math, physics, chemistry, and biology as well as computer science, business studies, information technology, linguistics and professional development. As of January 2011, the African Virtual University and its partner universities have 4,000 students enrolled in the teacher education degree, certificate and professional development courses.

Richardus Eko Indrajit, the president of APTIKOM in Indonesia, discussed his organization's efforts to provide free learning opportunities to students across Indonesia. Although many Indonesian students may take courses at small, local universities, APTIKOM's program allows them to take some courses from larger universities and even from international universities.

The Executive Director of Funaçao Getulio Vargas (FGV Online), Stavros Xanthopoylos, spoke about FGV's success in bringing open learning to students across Brazil. FGV started its OCW initiative in 2008 and was the first institution to provide open content in Portuguese. It now offers a variety of courses, many of which have been adapted from other institutions' courses and localized to meet the needs of Brazilian learners. FGV allows students to print a Declaration of Participation upon completing a course; as of May 2, 2011, 1,377,124 declarations were printed by students who had completed the course!

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Inside Khan Academy

While enjoying a particularly delicious cucumber salad during the conference lunch, we listened to Khan Academy's Salman Khan, who visited the conference via Skype. Khan explained how Khan Academy grew from a hobby to full-time passion as well as his plans for the future. Among other things, Khan is working on a series of videos on American history and is also working with fifth graders in Los Altos, California, who are using his videos to enhance their education. Khan has some game-changing ideas about the future of education, including an idea to separate credentialing (such as degree-granting) from actual learning.

OCW and the Arts

You can learn a lot of things online, but until today, we didn't realize that visual art was one of them. After we met Chris Follows and John Casey of Arts Learning and Teaching Online (ALTO) and Process Arts we learned that even art can be taught and shared on the Web. Check out Process Arts to watch artists at work and learn about diverse topics like core sand casting and creating life-size cartoon resin models, and stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Chris and John.

OCW Awards

After a long but invigorating day of workshops and speeches, we ended the day with an awards dinner, where innovators were honored for their work in education. Honorees include Professor Walter Lewin of MIT, whose video lectures in physics are watched 6,000 times every day. The Open.Michigan team was also honored for it's work in developing OERbit, a publishing platform that institutions can use to publish learning resources. Study.com interviewed Professor Lewin and Pieter Kleymeer from Open.Michigan; stay tuned for those interviews!

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