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  • Obama promotes Open Education

    - The White House takes the initiative to promote “Open Education to Increase Awareness and Engagement” in both higher education and society as a whole. An online ‘Skills Academy’ will start “to ensure that workers can get the education and training they need to advance their careers.”

    The document on this priority of president Obama and his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, with the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the president presents the following new key-actions, including three pilots overseas “by December 2015 that use open educational resources to support learning in formal and informal learning contexts.”

    The full text can be read in the next paragraph, the original document can be found here.

    Open education is the open sharing of digital learning materials, tools, and practices that ensures free access to and legal adoption of learning resources. There is a growing body of evidence that the use of open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including by accelerating student comprehension and by fostering more opportunities for affordable cross-border and cross-cultural educational experiences. The United States is committed to open education and will:

    Raise open education awareness and identify new partnerships.

    The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will jointly host a workshop on challenges and opportunities in open education internationally with stakeholders from academia, industry, and government. The session will foster collaboration among OGP members and other interested governments and will produce best practices to inform good policies in open education.

    Pilot new models for using open educational resources to support learning.

    The State Department will conduct three pilots overseas by December 2015 that use open educational resources to support learning in formal and informal learning contexts. The pilots’ results, including best practices, will be made publicly available for interested educators.

    Launch an online skills academy.

    The Department of Labor (DOL), with cooperation from the Department of Education, will award $25 million through competitive grants to launch an online skills academy in 2015 that will offer open online courses of study, using technology to create high-quality, free, or low-cost pathways to degrees, certificates, and other employer-recognized credentials. This academy will help students prepare for in-demand careers.

    Courses will be free for all to access on an open learning platform, although limited costs may be incurred for students seeking college credit that can be counted toward a degree. Leveraging emerging public and private models, the investments will help students earn credentials online through participating accredited institutions, and expand the open access to curriculum designed to speed the time to credit and completion.

    The online skills academy will also leverage the burgeoning marketplace of free and open-licensed learning resources, including content developed through DOL’s community college grant program, to ensure that workers can get the education and training they need to advance their careers, particularly in key areas of the economy.