Honoring the Best in Free Online Education
We've recently ventured into the world of online education ourselves with Study.com, and are excited to join a community of organizations devoted to increasing education accessibility on the web. The Study.com People's Choice Awards are designed to increase awareness of these free educational resources and celebrate the efforts of those behind them.
Check out the nominees below. You can vote for your favorites here. Voting closes on Friday, August 31.
Best User Experience:
- Flat World Knowledge is a publisher that offers free and open college textbooks. Through providing open-licensed textbooks, this company has enabled students to have free access to high-quality, college-level textbooks and has given educators the chance to personalize the textbooks they use to provide an improved learning experience.
- UC Irvine OCW: since 2006, the University of California, Irvine has offered its OpenCourseWare initiative. The OCW program enables anyone to have access to courses that can be used to further education, gain college credit, study for state examinations or expand knowledge in a variety of subjects.
- American Museum of Natural History: students and teachers can benefit from one of the world's largest museums of natural science, the American Museum of Natural History. The museum provides various activities and opportunities for teaching, learning and research.
Best Video Lectures:
- TedEd is from the nonprofit organization Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED). The TedEd program offers free educational video lessons that can be shared openly and used by anyone to educate others.
- MIT OCW: since 2007, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has provided its OpenCourseWare program to anyone, anywhere in the world. MIT provides a large number of courses in a variety of disciplines free of charge through the program.
- UCLA Video Lectures: Available on YouTube, the UCLA Video Lectures provide access to lectures, talks, conferences and courses. The university provides a unique view into its college through these videos.
Best Non-Video Open Education Resource:
- Students Circle Network: the Students Circle Network was established in 2010 as an educational social network. The organization provides college and high school students all over the world with free course materials and access to resources like live help, scholarships and study groups.
- Wikiversity: part of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikiversity provides educational resources to individuals at all levels of learning. Wikiveristy offers access to learning communities, research projects and free educational materials.
- OER Glue is a unique project that uses free resources from all over the Internet to provide a rich educational resource. Individuals can access blogs, documents, social networks and various other education-related tools around the Web to create lessons, courses and study materials.
Most Engaging Resource:
- Khan Academy: dedicated to providing free education to anyone, no matter where in the world they are, Khan Academy offers thousands of videos in a variety of subjects. Individuals may learn about almost anything, from algebra to SAT preparation to venture capitals.
- iTunesU: Apple, Inc. is a well-known company that now offers a free educational tool through its iTunesU application. Individuals using iTunesU have access to lectures, videos, books and other educational materials to do things like learn a new language, study classic literature, discover science or brush up on math.
- FGV Online is available through the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Brazil. The program is part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and offers free learning materials online to individuals all over the globe.
Best Instructional Supplement:
- The College Open Textbooks Collaborative is a program that provides free access to college textbooks. Additionally, the program offers training to help instructors learn how to make use of open educational resources and is focused on increasing the use of open educational resources to reduce educational costs.
- DNA from the Beginning is a program from the DNA Learning Center. It provides free lessons and interactive tools related to the study and understanding of modern genetics. Students and instructors can use it online for free to supplement learning.
- Learner.org: with a goal to advance and elevate the educational experience in American schools, Learner.org provides free access to educational video programs and print materials to K-12 teachers. Resources may be used in the classroom and at home by students.
Most Interactive Resource:
- Open Culture focuses on worldwide learning that lasts a lifetime. By providing a collection of various educational resources from around the Internet, Open Culture allows individuals to have easy access to educational materials, like textbooks, courses and lessons, for free.
- Bridge to Success: through providing access to free educational resources, Bridge to Success enables adults to acquire skills and knowledge that helps them successfully transition into college. The focus of the materials provided is on math and study skills.
- Tufts OCW, a member of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, provides an extensive OpenCourseWare program that allows access to select lectures and other educational lecture to anyone in the world through an online format.
Most Open Resource:
- Kansas State University Human Nutrition (HN 400) Flexbook is an open textbook for an intermediate nutrition course offered at the university.
- Open Michigan: the University of Michigan offers free access to educational materials at the college through its Open Michigan program. Offering access to learning modules that include lectures, textbooks, tutorials and image galleries, Open Michigan is sharing education with the public through a free platform.
- DS106 or Digital Storytelling, is a free, online course. This course teaches the concept of digital storytelling through an ongoing format. The goals of the course are to help individuals to learn to use technology as a tool, create a digital identity and examine the role of communication technologies.
- Process Arts is an online, open educational resource from the University of the Arts London. The goal of the project is for students and staff of the university to share their daily research and knowledge. It's a format for these individuals to exchange educational materials and go beyond the traditional educational setting to expand learning abilities.
- African Virtual University, established in 1997, is an African educational resource, providing free education to individuals on that continent. The university bridges language barriers by offering multilingual materials.
- Open Badges is a Mozilla project designed to help individuals and organizations easily display badges for accomplishments that were gained outside of a traditional degree program and that wouldn't be apparent from looking at a college transcript. The program makes it easy for open educational institutions to award badges of achievement to individuals who complete open courses or gain other achievements in an open education environment.
Best New Face in the Free Education Movement:
- Udacity takes a whole new approach to open education. Instead of watching videos or listening to lectures, individuals can learn by solving problems and completing projects under the watch of accomplished instructors.
- Coursera partners with top universities to provide free, online courses. These courses provide students with lectures, tests and interactive exercises in subjects ranging from humanities to computer science to biology.
- CrashCourse YouTube is an effort of two men who have created various lessons in the subjects of history and biology. These free lessons are available on YouTube.
Best Advocate for Free/Open Education:
- Nicole Allen, Textbook Rebellion organized over 2,000 professors in support of open textbooks. Her accomplishments in this field include being the textbook advocate for The Student PIRGs and the campaign director of Make Textbooks Affordable. Ms. Allen has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, The Los Angeles Times and US News and World Report.
- Nick Shockey, Right to Research Coalition is the director of the Right to Research Coalition, a student-founded organization that promotes open publishing in an effort to ensure all students have access to educational and research publications.
- David Wiley, BYU is an associate professor at Brigham Young University and the director of the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL). He works to promote open educational resources and online learning communities.