Open University offers free e-learning

Education for all via £5.65m website...
Written by Gemma Simpson, Contributor

Education for all via £5.65m website...

The Open University (OU) is unlocking its online educational doors with tomorrow's launch of the OpenLearn website.

OpenLearn will allow anyone across the world to access, download and use the OU's educational resources for free.

The online learning material is taken from Open University courses and uses technologies including videoconferencing, mind maps and instant messaging to get teachers and students interacting and learning.

Stephen Bradley, technical and production director for OpenLearn told silicon.com the site is not only aimed at the OU's current students but also hopes to address a global audience.

Bradley added: "We're keen for people in the developing world to use this site and its resources."

The OpenLearn brand hosts two sister sites: LearningSpace and LabSpace, where pupils and teachers can swap notes and get resources respectively.

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The £5.65m project - supported by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation - will cover subjects from arts and history to science and nature, at all study levels, including postgraduate.

The site does not offer any e-degrees or require users to become an OU student.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) kicked off the concept with its OpenCourseWare initiative in 2001, where anyone can access MIT's course materials for free.

Bradley said the MIT site has seen massive take-up of materials from very global communities and hopes OpenLearn will follow suit.

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