OCW People's Choice Award Winner: Most Accessible

Aug 15, 2011

Education accessibility is a cause near and dear to Study.com's heart. Breaking down barriers to education is what OpenCourseWare is all about, but the nominees in this category are going above and beyond to eliminate barriers based on cost, disability or learning style. We're excited to share the innovative efforts that the nominees in this category have made to increase access to Open Education Resources.

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Winner: Open Course Library

Most Accessible Award Winner

When it comes to accessibility, Open Course Library (OCL) is a true winner. Just in terms of where you can find it, OCL has several homes on the web, including a website, a wiki, a blog and a Facebook page. Created by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, OCL has an overall goal of lowering costs, improving experiences and encouraging course completion among community college students in the state.

The focus on lowering costs is particularly targeted at textbooks, which can cost students thousands. If these students are receiving state aid, this cost gets passed on to the state. OCL was born out of an effort to cut back on costs for books, and makes it so the average cost for students is more like $30, rather than $1,000. Our voters especially love this feature, citing OCL's ability to 'considerably reduce the cost to each student' as one of its most appealing features.

OCL covers 81 courses in subjects ranging from U.S. history to art appreciation. It's easily accessible online by instructors at community colleges in Washington, but it's not intended to deliver courses exclusively through an e-learning format. Additionally, it's not required for use. But with its ease of accessibility, there's no wonder it's so popular!


Finalist: Smarthistory

'I loved the way art history came alive on this site, through discussions illuminating works of art and the context in which they were created.' -Maureen Mackey White

Smarthistory represents an effort to make art history education more engaging in all its forms. Whether for an art survey course at a university, a tour through a museum or just as an information repository for the curious, this site offers a wealth of informative and interesting knowledge of the art world, including artist biographies, paintings, podcasts, screencasts and more.

Finalist: FLOE

FLOE, or 'Flexible Learning in Open Education,' is all about adaptability. Its authors at the Inclusive Design Research Center realize that everyone learns differently, and moreover that OCW offers users a unique chance to speak to a multitude of different learning styles, and one of our voters calls it 'easy to access and informative.' Therefore, FLOE aims to develop diverse OCW to help connect with a large spectrum of individualized learners, including those with sensory or cognitive constraints or linguistic difficulties.

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