2015 OE Award Winners: Special Categories

Special Awards aim to recognize outstanding contributions and leadership in Open Education.  This year awards are granted in two categories:

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARD

The Organizational Leadership Award is granted by the OE Consortium Board of Trustees to an organization that exemplifies extraordinary leadership in the field of open education serving as inspirational model of engagement and commitment. The Open Education Consortium is pleased to present this year’s award to:

 OERThe United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) believes that universal access to high quality education is key to the building of peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue.

Within a framework of Open Solutions including Open Access to sharing peer-reviewed scientific information, Free and Open Source Software to stimulate all ICT activities, UNESCO advocates to Governments and key educational stakeholders that Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a strategic opportunity to improve the quality of education as well as facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building.

With the support of the Hewlett Foundation, the Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO organized the 2012 World OER Congress at the UNESCO Headquarters which unanimously released the 10-point Paris OER Declaration, one of the landmark documents for the OER movement. UNESCO has conducted training programs, projects and awareness raising activities in many places around the world, particularly in developing countries. UNESCO currently supports 6 OER chairs.

In 2013, UNESCO became the 1st UN organization to fully adopt free culture CC BY SA licensing on all publications. With very few exceptions, all new publications are released with CC BY SA and the license is being applied retroactively on the many thousands of seminal UNESCO publications. (more information)

PRESIDENT’S AWARD

The President’s award is given by the OE Consortium Board of Trustees to an institution with exceptional contributions to the field of open education serving as inspirational model of engagement and commitment. The Open Education Consortium is pleased to present this year’s award to:

UMUCThe University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is the largest public institution in the University of Maryland System and one of the largest distance learning institutions in the United States. Its students are comprised of primarily residents of the state of Maryland and the U.S. military.

In 2013, UMUC embarked on an ambitious project to convert their courses and curriculum so that learning resources would have no cost to students, primarily through the implementation of open educational resources. The motivation was to better serve their students in the military, improve accessibility and lower costs to students. The implementation phase was two-years for the undergraduate program, with the graduate school coming on board in 2016.

The project involved a systematic review of courses and resources to identify no-cost alternatives. The OER/No-Cost project is part of a broader transition, what UMUC calls “enhancing the learning model.” As part of this new model, learning resources will be available throughout any given program and not just on a per-course basis. By moving to OERs, students will have immediate and no-cost access to the resources they need to learn. (more information)