Friday, March 31, 2017

The Open Education Consortium: Free courses in 30,000+ modules from 280+ institutions in 40+ countries in English & 28 other languages

The OpenCourseWare movement started with the University of Tübingen in Germany in 1999. However, in 2001 MIT OpenCourseWare blossomed in the U.S. This program inspired the birthing of the Open Education Consortium through which 280+ universities and other institutions have made their course materials available as open educational resources.The program was  based on a  large-scale, web-based publication of MIT course materials.

The Open Education Consortium
The Open Education Consortium (OEC), with it's headquarters in Massachusetts, USA, is a globally based network of educational institutions. Where individuals and organizations support an approach to education based on openness, collaboration, innovation and collective development and the use of open educational materials. The Open Education Consortium is a non-profit, social benefit organization registered in the United States and operating worldwide.

Mary Lou Forward is the Executive Director of the Open Education Consortium, providing leadership for the organization’s efforts to advance open education by improving higher education and people’s access to these types of programs.  

Mission & Vision
The Open Education Consortium:
·         Is a worldwide community of 280+ higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education and its impact on global education;
·         Envisions a world where everyone, everywhere, has access to the education they need to build their futures;
·         Seeks to instill openness as a feature of education around the world. Allowing expanded access to education while providing a shared body of knowledge upon which innovative and effective approaches to today’s social problems can be built;
·         Serves as a resource for starting and sustaining open education projects, as a coordinating body for the movement on a global scale, and as a forum for exchange of ideas and future planning; and
·         Aims at bringing about change by leveraging its sources of expert opinion, its global network and its position as the principal voice of open education.

Open Education Consortium Honored
The Homeschool Base program is the largest volunteer-driven resource and news website for homeschoolers. This program has named the Open Education Consortium as one of the Top 10 Open Course Education Websites of 2017.  The award is recommended by teachers, home educators, and homeschool parents; and honors exemplary websites/apps that offer quality, innovative, unique, cost-effective, or significant value to teachers, educators, and homeschooling families. 

What is Open Education?
Open education encompasses resources, tools,and practices that employ a framework of open sharing, to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.

The key is to be open ; being open does not just allow access, but allows the ability to modify and use materials, information, and networks so education can be personalized to individual users or woven together in new ways for large and diverse audiences.

Why is Open Education important?
People want to learn. By providing free and open access to education and knowledge, people can fulfill their desire:
·         Students can get additional information, viewpoints and materials to help them succeed.
·         Workers can learn a new skill that will help them on the job.
·         Faculty can exchange materials and access resources from around the world.
·         Researchers can share data and develop new networks.
·         Teachers can find new ways to help students learn.
·         People can connect with others they wouldn’t otherwise meet to share information and ideas.
·         Materials can be translated, mixed together, broken apart and openly shared again, increasing access and allowing new approaches.
·         Anyone can access educational materials, scholarly articles, and supportive learning communities anytime they want to.
·         Education is available, accessible, modifiable and free.

Open Education Consortium Sponsors

Activities of the Open Education Consortium are generously supported by:
·         The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Sustaining Members of the Open Education Consortium:

The African Virtual University
Open Universiteit
Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
Delft University of Technology
Taiwan Open Course Consortium
Fundação Getulio Vargas – FGV Online
Tecnológico de Monterrey
Japan OpenCourseWare Consortium
Tufts University
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Korea OpenCourseWare Consortium
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of California, Irvine
Netease Open Courses
University of Michigan

And Contributions of Member Organizations
·         280+ organizations in 40+ countries

The “Resources” page of the Open Education Consortium website (address given below) has four sections: Open Education Information Center; CCCOER Webinars; Courses in STEM; and Open Textbooks:

This initiative strives to provide information on all aspects of open education in one place. Information is organized to address needs of different audiences, such as: groups , faculty, students, administrators, researchers, and policy makers.  Visitors/ members of the audience may contribute to an on-going discussion or initiate a new one.

The popular Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) webinars, feature leaders and practitioners in an open education environment. The equivalence of this opened education of that to community college faculty, students, and staff. Recent webinar topics include: Finding Open Textbooks and Fostering Faculty Adoptions; A Primer on Open Licenses and Intellectual Property; OER Impact Research Faculty and Student Voices; Open Textbook Publishing and Adoptions; California Community Colleges Share It Forward with CC-BY; Fostering Open Policies on Your Campus and Beyond; OER and Open Textbook Adoption and Sustainability; and, Libraries Lead the Way: Open Courses, OER, and Open Policy.

  • COURSES IN STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
o   Great Courses and Teachers in STEM
o   Featured Courses by Great Teachers

Audience/visitors may view open textbooks under the following subject areas:

Anthropology & Archaeology
Engineering & Electronics
English & Composition
Biology & Genetics
Health & Nursing
Political Science
Languages & Communications
Computer Science
Statistics & Probability


Arts & Design (with 5 sub-categories)
Language & Culture (2 – English (1); Others (11))
Business & Management (16)
Math & Logic (4)
Computer Science (16)
Personal Development (14)
Education & Training (2)
Science (10)
Engineering (3)
Social Sciences (5)
Health & Medicine (5)
Sports & Leisure (6)
Humanities (4)

Yes, Open Education Consortium online courses can be audited for free by anyone with an internet connection. However, if students want to receive a verified certificate, they have to pay a fee.  For example, for the 13-week MIT course “Supply Chain Design” that could be accessed via the Open Education Consortium may require a fee of $150 for a verified certificate. This is an advanced level Engineering course with videos and transcripts in English and  it requires 8-12 hrs/wk of studies.

For more information, please kindly check out the Open Education Consortium website via the link given below.  However, to start exploring the courses offered via the Consortium, please click here.

Open Education Consortium website:   

Posted by: Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi

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