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Open Education Provides Unprecedented Foundation for Increased Educational Equity and Access


February 10, 2014

Contact: Mary Lou Forward, OpenCourseWare Consortium
email: mlforward@ocwconsortium.org
phone: 802-347-1373



Third Annual Open Education Week Celebrates the Successes March 10-14, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – (February 10, 2014) – Open education is a thriving, worldwide movement that has grown over the last ten years to allow learners of all ages, abilities, and means to experience authentic learning in both traditional and nontraditional settings.

Open education is, at its core, about free and open sharing. Free, meaning no cost, and open, referring to the use of legal tools (open licenses) that give everyone permission to reuse, modify, and share educational resources. Free and open sharing increases access to education and knowledge for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

According to Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director for the OpenCourseWare Consortium, “Open education has opened amazing new learning opportunities for learners of all ages around the world. We are constantly gratified by the variety of impacts these resources are having on people’s lives.” Here is a sampling of stories of those who have benefited from open education:

* K-12 schools in Utah undertook a pilot program to use printed open textbooks in their schools, cutting textbook costs by over 50%, allowing teachers to tailor the curriculum, and permitting students to interact more deeply with the content. The program has now been expanded statewide.
* Teachers in New York are using open resources provided by the state to address the Common Core State Standards.
* A California teacher of the year prepared for subject matter certification using open resources, crediting them for his success on the CSET exams
* Founders of a Haitian solar energy company used open courseware to develop increased knowledge in solar engineering that allowed them to build their business serving needs of low income and rural people
* A student in MIT Media’s Lab’s Creative Learning MOOC, Cecilia Trevino, a participant from Italy asked her 12 year old daughter for help using technology related to the course, showing that learning communities were forming between participants of the course, and also between participants and their local communities and families.
* Ankit Khandelwal, a chemical engineer in India, was looking to develop his management skills and international perspectives to advance his career. Open courses have given him the access to high-quality educational content from a variety of institutions around the world, leading to a self-designed international management study plan that will help him meet his goals.

Open Education Week (March 10-14, 2014) is a global event that seeks to raise awareness of free and open sharing in education and the benefits they bring to teachers and learners. Coordinated by the OpenCourseWare Consortium, the event showcases projects, resources, and ideas from around the world that demonstrate the work already underway in open education. The open education movement seeks to reduce barriers, increase access and drive improvements in education through open sharing and digital formats. Open education includes free and open access to platforms, tools and resources in education, including learning materials, course materials, videos, assessment tools, research, study groups, and textbooks, all available under an open license.

Website: http://www.openeducationweek.org/

About the OpenCourseWare Consortium
The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a community of more than 250 universities and associated organizations worldwide committed to advancing open sharing and its impact on global educational opportunity. The mission of the OpenCourseWare Consortium is to advance formal and informal learning for educators and self-learners around the world through the sharing and use of free, open, high-quality education materials packaged as courses readily accessible on a digital platform. For more information, visit http://www.oeconsortium.org.