Maryland school promotes digital learning with flipped classrooms, online independent study courses (Carroll County Times)

Liberty promotes digital learning with flipped classrooms, online independent study courses

ELDERSBURG — Taylor Jones is enjoying the new way she’s learning math.

Jones, a freshman, is part of a conceptual algebra class at Liberty High School that’s functioning under a flipped classroom model.

Students watch a lecture for homework and then work on practice problems and ask questions of their teacher the next day in class.

“I think it’s a lot easier,” she said.

Liberty High School has piloted the flipped classroom and OpenCourseWare independent study courses this school year as part of a larger transition to digital learning. Students in certain social studies, science and math classes throughout all grades and academic levels are currently taking part in the flipped classroom pilot.

Jared Wastler, assistant principal at Liberty High School, said the goal is to move the school away from a static educational environment by getting students and staff members more connected to technology.

“Last spring, we asked if we could pilot the flipped classroom model,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we did it in a way that we utilized county technology and resources to best benefit our students and our staff.”

During the current spring semester, the school is using the OpenCourseWare program for the first time. With it, students are using free, online classes for independent study, Wastler said.

Four students are taking free classes put online by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one student is taking a course through the University of California, Berkeley. Course subjects include microeconomics, introduction to disease and cancer research and nutrition.

Participating students must complete the online course in nine weeks, or a quarter of the school year, then complete a research project with an industry mentor, Wastler said.

The culminating experience, during which the mentor visits the school, is a presentation of their research and a reflection on their learning, Wastler said. Read more.

Open Education Week 10-15 March 2014: Call for Participation (OCW Consortium)

Open Education Week 10-15 March 2014: Call for Participation

Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Participation in all events and use of all resources are free and open to everyone.

The Open Education Week Organizing Committee invites your contributions to and participation in the third annual Open Education Week, featuring online and in-person events around the world.

Ways to Contribute:

There are many ways you can contribute to Open Education Week: upload an informational or inspirational video, host an event in your community, send us links to resources about open education, hold a webinar, and promote open education week in your social media networks. To contribute a video or resource, or to have your event or webinar featured on the Open Education Week Events calendar, please use the submission form at To get the website ready, we need your submissions by 28 February 2014.

You are welcome to submit multiple resources or events.

Please visit for more information, ideas and FAQ, follow us on Twitter and Facebook @openeducationwk, or contact us at

The full call for participation is available here. Help us spread the word and make this year’s open education week a huge success!

OCWC Global 2014 Conference: Call for Papers is Open!

The 10th annual OpenCourseWare Consortium Global Conference will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on April 23-25, 2014.

The OpenCourseWare Consortium and the Knowledge for All Foundation are jointly organizing the event whose special theme is Open Education for a Multicultural World. We invite submissions of papers on all topics related to open education for the conference proceedings, and proposals for workshops.

The 2014 conference will be organized around four tracks:

Research and Technology. In this track, we expect to explore new technologies allowing scaling and sharing of Open Educational Resources in a faster or more economical way, to index the multimodal and multilingual material, or to navigate and remix available material. Researchers and developers are encouraged to present on-going research as well as running prototypes.

Open Educational Policies, in which policy issues and their impact on open educational practice will be discussed. Licensing issues, alternative business models, cooperative efforts and governmental funding can all be discussed in this track. The focus of such sessions should be on lessons learned rather than a recounting of steps taken.

Pedagogical Impact will allow users to present novel uses of Open Educational Resources and their impact on education. We welcome analysis of the impact of Open Educational Resources on the learning process itself, as well as deployment of OERs in MOOCs, flipped classrooms, hybrid educational approaches and online education.

Finally, a project dissemination track will allow actors (teams, projects, companies) currently involved in open education projects in Europe to present the results of their work.


Submissions Due: December 1, 2013
Acceptance Announcements: Week of January 2, 2014
Speaker Registration Deadline: February 27, 2014
Final Papers Due: March 1, 2014

More information is available on the conference website.

Registrations will open on 15 November. If you have any questions please send an email to The official Twitter #tag is #ocwcglobal.

Educause student survey indicates 71% of undergraduates have used free/open educational resources

The 2013 ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, which polled more than 113,000 US and international undergraduates, includes some interesting numbers regarding student use of free and/or open educational resources.  From pages 11-13 of the report:

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Freely available course content/open educational resources, e-books, simulations and education games, and e-portfolios are still in the experimental stages for most students. Seven in 10 students (71%) say they have used freely available course content/open educational resources (OERs) in the past year, yet for most students the scale of use is nominal. Only about 1 out of 10 of these students use OERs “all the time” (Figure 5). Regional and Carnegie class differences were not noteworthy, but older students (14%) compared with younger students (9%) more frequently report that they use OERs “all the time.” In looking at responses to an open-ended question about how students recommend that their instructors use freely available course content, we found that most identified, at least vaguely, ways that they imagined bringing free course content into their studies: as learning aids, as supplemental information sources, and as providers of different perspectives on topics. They cited the value of sourcing additional examples and revisiting/repetition of complex or key points outside the confines of class. The majority of respondents identified a resource or activity related in some way to their academic goals. Khan Academy commonly surfaced as a supplemental OER that students employ independently or, less commonly, as prompted by their instructors. One student’s comment exemplifies the supplemental value of this alternative: “Sometimes taking notes and listening to a lecture [by] the same person can be like bashing yourself over the head with a textbook if it doesn’t make sense. But it’s nice to listen to other styles of teaching like Khan Academy. It gives a valuable perspective.”

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As has been pointed out in the OER community, the report largely misses the distinction between free resources and openly licensed resources, which is important.  Nonetheless, this is a clear indicator that most students, at least occasionally, look beyond the materials presented to them for additional explanations of key concepts and for supplemental materials.

Ten percent using “all the time” and 30% using OER “on occasion” may sound modest, but there were roughly 18 million undergraduate students in the US in 2007, so this indicates that there are more than 7 million US undergraduates using OER and free learning resources and millions more aware of them and trying them out.

Help us sort through what you like about OCW

Our staff is trying a unique new sort of survey to help us better understand what our site visitors like about courses on OCW and how they use them.  We’re looking for 100 intrepid respondents to give this new sorting survey a try and share with us their view on what makes OCW useful to them.  Give it a try.

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Naval aviator powers up his education with MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT News)

Naval aviator powers up his education with MIT OpenCourseWare
Daryle Cardone uses the Institute’s free online course lessons to prepare for future study in physics and math.

Mark Brown
Office of Digital Learning

Daryle Cardone (Photo: Daryle Cardone)

Daryle Cardone (Photo: Daryle Cardone)

Daryle Cardone is a naval aviator and the commanding officer to a squadron of early warning aircraft that operate from the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Known as the Bluetails, Cardone’s squadron consists of 150 pilots, ground crew and other personnel who support four E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. These top-heavy planes carry enormous radar and communication systems on their backs, and serve a critical role in modern military engagements: Each plane acts as a flying command and communications hub, responsible for detecting other planes, ships and ground vehicles from the sky, and coordinating military strikes.

A quick scan of Cardone’s achievements shows that he has no shortage of ambition or talent: He’s a graduate of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (popularly known as TOPGUN) and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School; he’s logged more than 2,800 flight hours and 120 combat missions; and he has a long list of impressive assignments and honors to his name.

Like all naval aviators, Cardone has acquired an engineering-level understanding of the planes he flies — he had to study complex concepts like lift, drag and thrust in detail during flight school. “The engineering part of flight school wasn’t always easy for me,” he admits. “I was a music major in college, and that meant I had to work a lot harder than some of my peers in those aeronautics courses.”

Cardone considered his undergraduate music major a handicap, as he recently considered trying to establish academic eligibility for the Navy’s prestigious Aviation Nuclear Power Program. “I had always known about the prerequisites in calculus and physics to be eligible for the Aviation Nuclear Power Program. The leap felt too big between where I was and where I needed to be,” he says. Read more.

OCW hits 100,000 Facebook Likes!

Our Facebook page has 100,032 likes!

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Here’s some fun facts according to our FB analytics:

The city where most people are talking about OCW is Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

  •  Largest age group talking about OCW are 18-24 year olds.
  •  71% of our fans are men; 28% are women.
  •  Top 5 countries our fans are located in:
    •    USA – 25,100
    •    India – 14, 992
    •    Egypt – 4,112
    •    Brazil – 4,098
    •    Pakistan – 3,274
  •  26 fans read our posts in Albanian

In the last week:

  • we’ve reached about 54,907 people via our post (and the sharing of our posts)
  • we received 495 likes
  • 3,568 clicks on our posts
  • 3,294 people engaged with our content

If you are on Facebook and aren’t one of the 100,000 already, like us too!

Using OpenCourseware at New Milford HS to Create Deeper Learning (Getting Smart)

Great profile over on Getting Smart about the fine work being done by friends of OCW Eric Sheninger and Juliana Meehan at New Milford High School:

Juliana Meehan attended the Edscape Conference in the fall of 2012, the annual professional development event hosted each year by Principal Eric Sheninger at New Milford High School located in Bergen County, NJ.  Juliana loved what she saw and knew the school possessed the culture needed to sustain deeper learning for students. As part of NJExcel, a principal certification program, she needed to create a project and asked Eric to serve as her mentor. The two met over the summer to brainstorm the type of project that would bring to life both Eric’s and Juliana’s strong belief that all students can learn at a deeper level and achieve huge levels of success when they are afforded the freedom to self-direct and choose how to demonstrate their learning.

How does the program start? This principal and principal-in-training agreed to use the “independent study” model for this new program. They decided that in the fall of 2012, the Independent OpenCourseware Study would be an option for students in New Milford’s academy program, which includes the students who choose to get ahead of the game by taking rigorous academic courses in order to be career and college ready. They would have the option to choose any subject they felt passionate about and  study it using available OpenCourseware from esteemed institutions such as MIT or Stanford, to learn more about their chosen subject. The project would last two months, they would present their learning in any manner that felt right to them and they would earn one credit, even though the course work was all done on their own time- outside of the designated school day.

Although there was immediate buy in from about 50 students, they were did not necessarily respond with applause and cheering. Instead, the first weeks of the project consisted mostly of face to face meeting with Eric or their guidance counselor to mentor the students and talk them through the strong anxiety that surrounded not being given specific “step by step” instructions for what their finished product needed to look like. The students did receive a rubric along with mentor support, but ultimately it was up to the student to decided how and what to present at the end of the two months. These students realized they were going to have to take ownership of their learning in order to earn the credit, all the while having the chance to truly experience a project that held potential to give them a big leg up as they prepared to enter college. Read more.

Congratulations to Eric and Juliana for the ongoing success of the program.

MIT OpenCourseWare marks 10th anniversary (MIT News)

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), one of the landmark projects that helped spark the open education movement, marks the 10-year anniversary of the site’s launch today. On Oct. 1, 2003, the OCW site officially launched, sharing the core educational materials — including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams — from 500 MIT courses freely and openly on the Web under a license that permits flexible reuse. Since launch, the site has grown to include materials from more than 2,180 courses across all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate programs.

The site continues to be once of the most widely used educational resources on the Web, attracting more than 23 million visits in 2012 and an expected 27 million by the end of 2013. An estimated 170 million individuals worldwide have accessed OCW material since Oct. 1, 2003. Over the past ten years, the program has generated some dramatic usage numbers, including:

  • 10 billion server hits (files requested from OCW servers)
  • 870 million page views
  • 135 million visits to the main OCW site
  • 45 million visits to translations of OCW content
  • 43.5 million iTunes lecture video downloads
  • 48.6 million YouTube lecture video views, and
  • 18.5 million downloads of course content .zip files.

Professor Dick KP Yue, who chaired the committee that proposed OCW in the year 2000, described the impetus for the project. “In the digital age, Institutions like MIT have a responsibility — and an opportunity — to impact learners far beyond their campuses. OCW embodies MIT’s commitment to constantly widening access to knowledge.”  Read more.

Six college courses that help grads land jobs (CNBC)

Thinking about beefing up your resume or skill set with MITx or OCW?  CNBC shares six areas of focus that employers are looking for:

Whether you major in anthropology or chemical engineering, companies are looking for a skill set that may go beyond your school’s core curriculum. The ability to speak in public, to write a succinct, grammatical business email, to do certain math operations beyond addition and subtraction could mean the difference between being one of the growing number of unemployed grads or one setting off on a long and fulfilling career.  Read more.

CNBC suggests STEM courses, internships, business and economics, theater arts, professional writing and leadership studies.  A browse through the OCW course list or MITx offerings page will produce a wealth of opportunities to sharpen you skills in many of these areas.