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UC Irvine Wins OPAL Award for OpenCoursWare Program

The University of California, Irvine's (UC Irvine) OpenCourseWare program (OCW) has won the 2011 Award for Institutions in this year's OPAL Awards.

The award, given by the Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL), recognizes "innovation in improving the quality of open education resources." according to information released by the school.

The first university on the west coast to join the OpenCourseWare Consortium, UC Irvine has published more than 1,000 learning assets, 120 lectures, and more than 66 complete courses, with approximately 10 courses added each month.

Launched in November 2009, many of UC Irvine's "OCW offerings are directed at working adults seeking continuing education, with the option to enroll in instructor-led, for-credit courses, related to the OCW content," according to information on the initiative's Web site.

OPAL's goal is to support open educational practice in an effort to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning through the increased quality and quantity of open educational resources, according to information on the organization's Web site. It is supported by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the International Council for Open and Distance Education, the European Foundation for Quality E Learning, and several European universities.

"Colleges and universities worldwide increasingly recognize the benefits of adding resources for students, teachers, self learners, businesses, governments, and other organizations anywhere in the world," said Gary Matkin, dean of Continuing Education, Distance Learning, and Summer Session at UC Irvine. "The international recognition of UC Irvine's OpenCourseWare program honors UCI’s contribution to open education and hopefully will inspire others to offer university-quality educational resources that can be accessible anywhere in the world and at anytime."

Visit ocw.uci.edu for more information about UC Irvine's OpenCourseWare initiative. For more information about Opal, visit oer-quality.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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