General
11 May 2011

Open University supports Race Online 2012

Race Online aims to get everyone online by the end of 2012

Race Online aims to get everyone online by the end of 2012

The Open University has pledged its support to Race Online 2012– the nationwide challenge to get everyone online by the end of next year, making the UK the world’s first ‘networked nation’.

With over a fifth of the UK population not using the internet, Race Online 2012 has been created to actively engage organisations across the UK to encourage those who are online to inspire and help those who are currently offline.

Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are proud to be supporting this project. Being online is integral to today’s society. Of the 10 million adults across the UK who have never used the internet, almost half are from socially excluded groups. The OU’s mission is to open access to education to everyone and our teaching provides students with the IT skills to help them learn effectively using technology and to access the vast resources online, such as the educational resources freely available through the OU’s OpenLearn and iTunes U platforms. This makes our partnership with Race Online a great fit.

“We hope to tap into our large student and alumni population to encourage them to share their knowledge and learning with friends, family and neighbours as part of this valuable initiative.”

Race Online 2012 is fronted by Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s Digital Champion, who today launched Race Online’s ‘Digital Champions’ campaign. The campaign will formally develop a national network of digital champions to actively inspire, encourage and support the nine million offline adults in the UK to get started with the internet. She said: “Today is a massive step forward in our ambition to create a truly remarkable digital UK where the internet is a tool that everybody can use for their benefit. Race Online 2012 always intended to solve the critical social and economic issues that arise when people are left behind as technology advances. By bringing together an extraordinary mix of cross-sector partners we aim to eliminate the three major barriers that we know prevent people from getting online – access, motivation and skills.”

With a student and alumni community numbering almost two million nationwide, The Open University has started its search for ‘digital champions’ who will share their knowledge and skills to encourage others to get online. The University is also donating IT equipment to Age UK to help bridge the digital divide between the UK’s on and off-liners.

Over 1,000 organisations have pledged support to Race Online 2012, including Microsoft, BBC, BT, Department for Work and Pensions, and UnionLearn.

For more information about the OU’s involvement in Race Online, go to the OU’s virtual campus: www.open.ac.uk/platform

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