16 May 2007

OpenLearn adds more than 500 hours of new study materials to site

500 hours of free resources online

500 hours of free resources online

This week sees a further 509 hours of educational resources added to the OpenLearn site, The Open University’s open content initiative which makes study materials freely available on the internet, to coincide with Adult Learners’ Week.

The 43 units of study are spread across nine subject areas: Arts & History, Business & Management, Education, IT & Computing, Mathematics & Statistics, Science & Nature, Society and Study Skills & Language Learning. They include:

Start Writing Fiction – a practical introduction to writing fiction, this course teaches basic narrative strategies while learners practise plot and story-structure, character creation, place, and voice;

Exploring Psychology’s Context and History – using a historical and biographical framework, this course introduces a wide range of psychological approaches, including biological, social, and cognitive psychologies;

Climate Change – in addition to covering the science that underpins climate and its variation, this topic addresses some of the issues arising when science impinges on the ‘real’ world of politics and economics;

Living in a globalised world – an opportunity to gain an understanding of some of the complexities of globalised living;

Identity in question – looks at who we are, and how we define this: are notions of ‘Britishness’ and national identity, gender, class, race and ethnicity are as relevant today as ever? Or have changes in the home, the workplace, and society at large made these distinctions meaningless?

Released to coincide with Adult Learners’ Week, the units further reinforce OpenLearn’s commitment to making a wide range of educational resources freely available to everyone with web access.

OpenLearn publishes cohesive learning objects taken from high quality OU courses under a Creative Commons licence. This means that users can download and reuse the materials, amending them to suit their purpose and context. Already, almost half a million learners worldwide have experienced the free learning materials made available by OpenLearn since its launch in late 2006 and, with the addition of these new units, the site can now boast in excess of 2500 hours of free study materials.

OpenLearn recently won a platinum award – the top honour – at the IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Impact Awards 2007. The news was announced at the Learning Impact Awards in Vancouver last month. The awards, the first global competition of high impact use of technology in learning, attracted nominations from around the world. Twenty-five finalists were judged on learner achievement, impact on faculty adoption, financial return, impact on access, impact on accountability, and use of interoperability standards.

The OpenLearn entry received full marks from the award judges in the area of Expanded Access: Impact on reaching new populations. The project's success in attracting a global audience since its launch was said by the judges to be a "true innovation in open access" which was to be "applauded".

The new units will be live on OpenLearn from 17 May 2007. Visit the site at the link, right.

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