Final Round-Up of the OpenCourseWare Consortium Conference

May 06, 2011

It's Friday, May 6, and the OCWC conference is wrapping up. The last day was jam packed with fascinating interviews with educators and innovators who continue to work to make education more accessible and open. Read on to find out about the day's events.

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by Stacy Redd

Using Video to Reach Learners

We started the day at a panel session covering the use of rich media, or video, in OCW offerings.

The session started with a presentation by Andy Lane of The Open University (we scored an interview with him, too!) in the United Kingdom. Andy talked about The Open University's instructional videos, which are available for free to learners across the world. Thanks to the Web, The Open University's videos reach hundreds of thousands of students, who access them through iTunesU and YouTube.

The University of Tokyo's Katsusuke Shigeta spoke next and told us about TodaiTV, which has video lectures available for free to the public. UT also offers its videos on iTunesU, and over a million videos were downloaded through iTunesU in just three months!

Peter Kaufman of Intelligent Television spoke next and gave his ten recommendations for the development of video OCW. One of the things that Peter Kaufman mentioned that we also feel is important is the need to make videos searchable. Right now, there are wonderful videos that are full of interesting information. However, it can often be hard to find the right information without watching the whole video because the they aren't searchable. Peter also talked about the need to make more videos, especially historical footage, open and accessible to students throughout the world.

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Students Helping Students

The free materials available through OCW can help students learn about every topic under the sun, but OCW often lacks the collaboration and camaraderie of traditional, face-to-face instruction. The people from Open Study solve this problem through online study groups. Students post their questions in Open Study's forums, and other students jump in to answer or provide moral support. According to Open Study's Preetha Ram, 70% of questions are answered within five minutes!

Conference Round Up

We enjoyed our time the conference even more than we ever expected. More importantly, we learned so much about free online learning, accessibility, openness and more. We also met amazing people from all over the world and are leaving inspired by their efforts and accomplishments in bringing educational opportunities to the world's learners. Stay tuned for all of the interviews we conducted, and if you're doing something innovative or exciting in the world of education, please let us know!

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