Welcome to new students! Exploit Open Courseware (OCW) and enhance your education!

This is the time of the year when a large number of new, often young and certainly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, students join formal university and college courses for the first time. So iBerry feels compelled to offer advice. (First piece of advice: always listen to advice - you don't have to take it!)

What IS Open Courseware (OCW) anyway - and how can the online learner best find it?

As far as iBerry is concerned the term, 'Open Courseware' (OCW), simply refers to courseware made openly accessible on the web by any institution or individual. OCW includes the impressively large collection of course materials published by the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) and subject to Creative Commons Licenses. Today's OCW is unlikely to be offered in the traditional sense of instructor-led packages with access to experts, fellow students, formal exams and certification. That's usually for paying customers only whereas OCW is typically a byproduct of a traditional course, providing some subset of lecture notes, assignments, slides, images, practice exams, videoed lectures etc. and published in a static form with little possibility for learner interaction.

Featured Open Courseware

From time to time iBerry intends to feature examples of the best Open Courseware (OCW). Rather than attempting authoritative reviews of content the focus will be on why a particular OCW item is considered notable from the point of view of the online learner. Anyone is welcome to contribute or suggest some really first-class OCW (Comment below or contact iBerry)

Anthropology of Religion (Utah State University)

  • Courseware Author and Affiliation - Professor Richley Crapo of Utah State University.
  • Outline - Prof Crapo presents a theoretical analysis of religion as a cultural phenomenon exploring the functional relationships between religion, culture, society, and the individual.

  • Feedback Please !

    Feedback on any aspect of iBerry's activities is always appreciated but the following issues are central in the evolution of this Academic Porthole and constructive comment on these is particularly welcome.

    Mixing and Mashing - More Self-Help for the Online Learner

    This video by PediaPress demonstrates how easy it is to create custom books from Wikipedia articles.

    Online Learners of the World Unite !

    iBerry's mission is to foster free and accessible Higher Education (HE) by every appropriate means and in so doing help, just a little, towards solving the really big complex problems facing humanity today. This is all very well but at the current rate of change it seems likely that HE will remain unavailable to millions of adults who not only will lack professional expertise but will also lack the mature understanding necessary for political acceptance of, very possibly, painful changes to come.

    You do not have sufficient privileges to view this page

    Not a few "Open Courseware (OCW)" sites present the would-be user with the type of message shown above, or the equivalent in the form of login boxes and other restrictions preventing full access to course materials. No doubt the reasons are many and varied, ranging from marketing ploys that supposedly encourage (paying) students to sign up, to plain errors in website design. There's so much OCW out there now isn't it time to restrict the term to courseware that really is open and complete, at least as far as the major educational content is concerned? There are grey areas of course but now, in 2010, surely basic OCW should come with typed lecture notes and/or videoed lectures and if assignments, projects and quizzes and exams (particularly with solutions!) are thrown in too, then so much the better. Maybe by 2020 we would expect a lot more but at present even stalwart OCW creators such as MIT OpenCourseWare don't always live up to basic standards and much of what goes under the OCW banner is of little immediate use to many online learners.

    Plans for 2010

    The following summarizes iBerry's plans for 2010. We depend on the efforts of Registered Users and anyone else who cares to help. Your input is appreciated and feedback of course is always welcome - please contact us!

    OCW2 Project - first version of 'Computer Science and Information Technology' is now complete

    Computer Science & IT is the latest of iBerry's OCW2 presentations to be completed bringing the total to a grand two (the other is OCW2 Maths). To recap, the purpose of the OCW2 Project is to help fill the gap between existing Open Courseware (OCW) and its effective use by online learners.

    Season's Greetings to all our Visitors !

    Please enjoy whatever celebrations the end of the year may bring !

    We also wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

    How do you use iBerry? - if at all! This is the question we ask ourselves from time to time and, to be honest, we have a very incomplete idea of who our visitors are and why they bother to come. Now that the Open Courseware Directory is becoming larger and at the same time we are developing the OCW2 Project, there is more work involved and we are concerned about the cost effective use of our very limited resources. In broad terms, our mission is is to foster free and accessible Higher Education by every appropriate means but there are obviously many ways of going about this (see About iBerry and also The Open Global Education Network).

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