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The University of California Irvine Awarded 2011 Open Educational Quality Initiative Award for Institutions

IRVINE, Calif. – December 5, 2011 – The OpenCourseWare program at the University of California, Irvine was selected by an international jury pool as the winner of the Award for Institutions for The OPAL Awards 2011. The OPAL Awards, given to UC Irvine in Berlin on Dec. 2, recognize innovation in improving the quality of open education resources. The Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL), with the support of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), European Foundation for Quality E Learning (EFQUEL) and several European universities, is a consortium which works to promote the production, use and reuse of open educational resources (OER) in higher and adult education.

“Colleges and universities worldwide increasingly recognize the benefits of adding resources for students, teachers, self learners, businesses, governments and other organizations anywhere in the world,” said Gary W. Matkin, Ph.D., dean of Continuing Education, Distance Learning and Summer Session at UC Irvine. “The international recognition of UC Irvine’s OpenCourseWare program honors UCI’s contribution to open education and hopefully will inspire others to offer university-quality educational resources that can be accessible anywhere in the world and at anytime.”

The OPAL Awards recognize excellence in open education resources policy, promotion and use, which have resulted in the improvement of quality and innovation in educational organizations. The awards also provide exposure and recognition for institutions that have successful open educational practices (OEP).The award was presented to UC Irvine at the Online Education Conference in Berlin. A short video promoting the University’s OpenCourseWare program and commitment to OEP was shown during the ceremony and can also be viewed on the OPAL Initiative website.

UC Irvine was the first University of California campus and the first West Coast university to join the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC), the non-profit association of global OCW publishers. The University has published more than 66 complete courses, 120 video lectures and over 1,000 learning assets from some of UCI’s most prominent faculty members on its OCW website—allowing learners and educators throughout the world to access some of UC Irvine’s curriculum.

To date the approximately 200 universities of the Consortium have published materials from more than 13,000 courses, available through the Consortium‘s website. These materials are freely available on the web as resources to support informal and formal teaching and learning worldwide, and have received an estimated 100 million visits from virtually every country and region in the world.

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 more information about UC Irvine's OCW initiative, visit http://open.uci.edu/, e-mail open@uci.edu or follow us at Twitter.com/UCI_OCW and Facebook (UC Irvine OpenCourseWare).

About the University of California, Irvine

Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit uci.edu.