Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who uses Opencourseware?

In a recent time to learn a subject you can matriculate at an university in order to attend a class. Depending on the level of the course one wants to attend one can take a class at a community college or an adult education center that offers various courses. For example the Boston Adult Education Center  has offered basic and short courses in different areas for a very long time. Today it is not necessary to spend some money to attend some courses thanks to the Opencourseware and various online organizations that offer free courses. One can find a subject in an opencourseware and find support in a social network like Open study. A few months ago I launched the project Open Popular University that has courses in Engineering, Sciences, Math, Human Sciences, etc. In the section "Resources" are found courses in French. I added a social network like Open Study to support a course. For certain disciplines like Civil Engineering I put the whole curriculum like the one offered by a renowned university with the free courses. In this way someone can learn an university degree program by oneself. I am presently launching a fundraising campaign to raise some funds to optimize the site and add more courses. I am appealing to my readers to support this project by clicking the link "fundraising campaign" or clicking the widget on the sidebar of this blog.

The use of OpenCourseWare is supported by studies of which one originates from Mary Lou Forward, director of Open Courseware Consortium. OpenCourseWare (OCW) and Open Educational Resources (OER) rest on the idea that free and open sharing in education can favor the   improvement of teaching and learning around the world. The OpenCourseWare movement was initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Other universities noticing the power of open sharing followed the MIT example. Initially OCW was conceived as a resource for faculty to exchange ideas and course materials. Today OCW supports formal and informal learning and millions of people worldwide are using high-quality educational materials for different reasons.

The OpenCourseWare is used by faculty (Professors, Teachers) and students at the university and high school level, self-learners, employers, working professionals and different others. The study of Mary Lou Forward shows that a high percentage of users are not currently involved in formal education as faculty or students. The study uses statistics to show the different reasons people use the opencourseware. University professors and school teachers use the opencourseware to develop their courses. The opencouseware is used for professional development. Some California teachers use the opencourseware of the university of California-Irvine to help them to prepare for teaching credentials. The African Virtual University provides professional development through the use of the opencourseware. Its developed curricula for bachelor of education programs in 5 subjects to prepare teachers. The curriculum is presented in French, Portuguese and English at the African Virtual University (AVU) portal. Opencourseware is also supported by different platforms such as Open study, Peer-to-Peer university, etc. Many universities and companies put their opencourseware for free and open access. Their opencourseware is organized in different ways. Opencourseware presents different gaps and there ia a need to fill in these gaps. This is what I am trying to do at Open Popular University and I need the support of different interested people.