The Hewlett Foundation Grants UC Irvine $320,000 to Expand OpenCourseWare Initiative
IRVINE, Calif., September 15, 2009 — The University of California, Irvine today announced the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has provided $320,000 in grant support to further develop the University’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) program and to advance the Open Education Resources Movement (OER) which it serves. With this funding, the University will expand existing free online courses and programs, and create new content—all available free of charge, to learners across the globe.
“With this generous grant from the Hewlett Foundation, UC Irvine will continue fostering the global advancement and sharing of knowledge with learners all over the world,” said Gary W. Matkin, Ph.D., dean of continuing education at UC Irvine. “This funding will help expand not only UC Irvine’s OCW program, but also the OER movement as a whole.”
The grant from the Hewlett Foundation will support the staffing and planning necessary for the University to grow its own OCW initiative, while also actively participating in the OCW and OER communities to further advance these movements. Specifically, the University will remain an active member in the OpenCourseWare Consortium, established by the Hewlett Foundation and now including 200 institutional members, which offer over 9,000 open courses. In addition, the University will utilize the funding to update the content of existing OCW courses and develop new services associated with OCW, including an independent study model.
The Hewlett Foundation provides grants to solve social and environmental problems in the U.S. and around the world. Grantees work to reduce poverty in the developing world, curb carbon emissions that lead to climate change, and improve education for students in California and elsewhere. The Hewlett Foundation is organized by awarding grants based on a particular program. Programs available include education, environment, global development, performing arts, population and philanthropy. The Foundation has made more than $100 million in grants to develop the OER movement since 2001.
The Hewlett Foundation’s extensive and long-term support of the OER and OCW movements has been embraced by President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of a nationwide effort to produce open courses, particularly for community colleges. “This grant to UC Irvine recognizes its contributions to the Open Educational Resources movement and its desire to continue to spread and improve it,” said Barbara Chow, director of the education program at the Hewlett Foundation. “We look forward to their continued insights and efforts to make quality educational material available to all.”
About UC Irvine’s OpenCourseWare Initiative: The University of California, Irvine was the first University of California campus—and West Coast University—to join the OCW Consortium. UC Irvine’s membership in the OCW Consortium is consistent with its public- and land-grant missions and its desire to play a significant role in contributing to the social welfare of the state, the nation and the world. Open educational resources (OER) showcase the University’s high quality education and makes courses and course materials free for everyone in the world. UC Irvine’s OCW is a large-scale, Web-based resource that houses educational assets that are discoverable, searchable, modifiable, and, best of all, free and easily available.
Through the OCW Movement, UC Irvine provides university-quality courses and learning assets to populations of self learners that are underserved and in many cases, unable to participate in formal education at a university. This site also offers access to UC Irvine’s online continuing education offerings. For its leadership of the OCW movement, University of California, Irvine has been identified as one of the top 10 providers of free online courses. The ranking, published by Education-Portal.com, recognized UC Irvine for providing high-quality, university-level courses, free of charge, to learners around the globe. For more information about UC Irvine’s OCW initiative, visit http://ocw.uci.edu/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the University of California, Irvine
The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.