Queen Rania Foundation Launches Edraak, a MOOC Portal for the Arab World (edX blog)

A screenshot of Edraak.org

The Edraak homepage, the first Arabic MOOC platform.

Queen Rania Foundation Launches Edraak, a MOOC Portal for the Arab World
Anant Agarwal, edX CEO | 05.19.2014

This past November, we were honored to host Her Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan and the Queen Rania Foundation at the edX offices to announce our partnership to work together to increase access to education and opportunity for the Arab world. This week our shared goal became a reality with the launch of Edraak, the first not-for-profit Arab platform for MOOCs aimed at bringing world-class education to millions of Arab-speaking learners around the globe.

Powered by the Open edX platform, Edraak will deliver high quality online education from the best Arab instructors, regional academic institutions as well as Arabic-translated courses from prestigious university from around the world, like Harvard and MIT with more to come.

At the launch ceremony today, Queen Rania said “the world around us is speeding toward a future where ideas, knowledge and skills are the founding blocks of prosperity, while we drift at the bottom of global rankings in terms of knowledge, and in terms of how and what we produce. Transformative shifts usually happen when need and opportunity meet. We desperately need quality education, and online learning is our opportunity.”

With the Queen Rania Foundation, we share the belief in the transformational power of education. We are honored to be a part of Edraak that will open up a world of possibility for intellectually hungry Arab youth and Arab-speaking students worldwide.

Congratulations, Edraak and the Queen Rania Foundation. We are honored to work with you to reach global leaners and empower Arabic-speaking students through education. Read the original post.

OCW is always open, here when you need it most.

OCW launches our Spring Fundraising Campaign today.  Here’s why you should support it.

Dear Friend of OCW,

OCW is always open. Here when you need it most. Please support OCW.OCW is Always Open

Whether you are refreshing your memory on quantum mechanics or you finally have the time to immerse yourself in learning a new language (like German or computer programming) – OCW always has these resources available to you. We’re serving up quality open learning from a menu of 2,200 courses, available day or night, 365 days a year.

But we need your help to continue to serve as a key resource when you need it most.

Your Support Makes a Difference

Continually improving MIT OpenCourseWare offerings, expanding access, and creating innovations like OCW Educator is part of our plan to provide motivated people everywhere the tools to improve their lives and change the world.

With your support in the past, we’ve demonstrated not only that OCW is a unique resource, but that it can be a sustainable one.  MIT continues to pay for half of OCW’s $4 million annual budget directly, but we rely on sponsors and users like you for the rest.

As we approach the end of our fiscal year, we need your help to keep OCW fully funded for today and for the future. If you can afford to contribute to OCW, then please donate today and help us ensure that OCW continues to be here whenever you need us.


Cecilia d’Oliveira
Executive Director
MIT OpenCourseWare

p.s. Make your donation can count event more with a matching gift from your company. To find out whether your company has a matching gift policy, please enter your employer’s name in the MIT matching gifts page.

Open Access Textbooks: Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Free online textbooks are among the most popular and highest impact open educational resources. (The overwhelming response to this list of OCW’s online textbooks has made that clear to us!)  The recently announced Knowledge Unlatched initiative brings some new participants into the fold through a novel collaborative business model.

Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Knowledge Unlatched hoped to recruit 200 libraries in time to unveil a pilot collection of open-access books at the end of February, but about 300 libraries signed up.

By Jennifer Howard | April 1, 2014

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money to pay publishers a title fee for each of those books. The title fees are meant to cover the cost of publishing each book; publishers calculate what they think is fair and share those estimates with the Knowledge Unlatched group.

In return for the title fees, the publishers make Creative Commons-licensed, DRM-free PDFs of the selected books available for free download through the OAPEN digital platform (OAPEN stands for Open Access Publishing in European Networks), the HathiTrust digital repository, and eventually the British Library.

Authors and publishers decide which Creative Commons license they’re comfortable using. There’s no postpublication embargo period; the books will be available as soon as the publishers and Knowledge Unlatched can process and upload the PDFs. (Click here for a full list of the books selected for the pilot and whether they’ve been published and uploaded yet.)

Read more

OCW Consortium is now Open Education Consortium

Last week at their annual conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the OpenCourseWare Consortium announced its new name: the Open Education Consortium.

The new name embraces trends in higher education globally towards open sharing and scaling access to education through technology, tools and open content.

“Open Education presents many opportunities to develop 21st century teaching and learning”, said Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director of the Open Education Consortium. “We are excited that governments, institutions, educators and learners around the world are showing increased interest in open education and committed to helping build a future where sharing knowledge openly becomes standard everyday practice.”

Visit their new website at http://www.openedconsortium.org/

Robert Talbert – Getting student buy-in for the inverted calculus class (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Here’s an excerpt from the fifth post in from Robert Talbert’s excellent series on flipping his calculus class:

Getting student buy-in for the inverted calculus class

So far, regarding the inverted/flipped calculus course, we’ve discussed why I flipped the calculus class in the first place, the role of self-regulated learning as a framework and organizing principle for the class, how to design pre-class activities that support self-regulated learning, and how to make learning objectives that get pre-class activities started on a good note. This is all “design thinking”. Now it’s time to focus on the hard part: Students, and getting them to buy into this notion of a flipped classroom.

I certainly do not have a perfect track record with getting students on board with an inverted/flipped classroom structure. In fact the first time I did it, it was a miserable flop among my students (even though they learned a lot). It took that failure to make me start thinking that getting student buy-in has to be as organized, systematic, and well-planned as the course itself.

Here are three big “don’ts” and “dos” that I’ve learned about getting students to buy in to the flipped classroom, mostly through cringe-worthy teaching performances of my own in the past, along with some examples of how we built these into the calculus course. Read more.

Robert Talbert – Creating learning objectives, flipped classroom style (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Here’s an excerpt from the fourth post in from Robert Talbert’s excellent series on flipping his calculus class:

Creating learning objectives, flipped classroom style

In my last post about the inverted/flipped calculus class, I stressed the importance of Guided Practice as a way of structuring students’ pre-class activities and as a means of teaching self-regulated learning behaviors. I mentioned there was one important difference between the way I described Guided Practice and the way I’ve described it before, and it focuses on the learning objectives.

A clear set of learning objectives is at the heart of any successful learning experience, and it’s an essential ingredient for self-regulated learning since self-regulating learners have a clear set of criteria against which to judge their learning progress. And yet, many instructors – myself included in the early years of my career – never map out learning objectives either for themselves or for their students. Or, they do, and they’re so mushy that they can’t be measured – like any so-called objective beginning with the words “understand” or “appreciate”. Read more.

OpenEdJam Conference in San Antonio, Summer 2014

Readers of Open Matters may be interested in OpenEdJam. The conference is in San Antonio on July 25th-27th. Here is how they describe themselves:

OpenEdJam is a 3-day international event that brings together activists, developers, educators, engineers, librarians, and makers from all fields. We will provide a hands-on environment where participants can collaborate on innovative creations and uses of free and open education resources.

Considering the cultural, ethical and technical implications of free and open education resources, we’ll come together to discuss, demonstrate and support the future of free and open education.

There will be workshops and demonstrations on software, hardware, and curriculum, all related to open education. On Days 2 and 3, there will be a hackathon to develop new open education resources. This sounds like a fun one. Visit their website to learn more or submit a proposal by April 1st.