October 2007


An interesting post at the Online Education Database provides a list to Open Courseware Projects. Courseware projects often provide textbooks online, chapters, illustrations, and diverse educational contents to help the reader to learn in a particular subject. The list is classified in fields of study , which facilitates the search of specific resources.

From OEDb, posted May 2007:

Open courseware projects provide a head rush for many autodidactics because those projects often offer lecture notes, chapters or entire textbooks online, illustrations, charts, and other tools that help the reader learn a given subject. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) gained notoriety for its online open courseware (OCW) offerings and many other colleges have followed this example; however, the self-learner probably knows that many college professors have offered their course outlines and materials online for years before MIT laid claim to this effort.

Whether you’re taking a break from tuition courses, need supplementary materials for college courses, require materials to help out on the job, or want to gain life experience, online open courseware can help you reach your goals. The 100 open courseware sources listed below are freely available for anyone to use, whether you’re a student, an instructor, or a self-learner. The courses are categorized by subject and listed alphabetically within that subject.

While you cannot earn credits for working through these “courses,” in some cases you can obtain credits if you’re a registered university student. Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI), for instance, provides credits to Carnegie Mellon and to other university students when their instructors provide a “course admit code” for registration. Otherwise, individuals who aren’t students can work through the modules — which range from biology to statistics — at no cost.

Finally, this list is not all-inclusive, as college-level courseware projects number in the thousands, perhaps more if you count professor home pages that are “open courseware” but have never been labeled as such. With this list and some search capabilities you can spread your wings and find more subjects to your liking.

Agriculture | Arts | Architecture | Archaeology | Audio & Video | Biology | Botany | Chemistry | Civil Engineering | Economics | Electronic Engineering | General Engineering | Earth Sciences | Geography & Geology | History | Languages & Linguistics | Law | Literature | Mechanical Engineering | Paleontology | Physics | Political Science | Psychology | Social Sciences

[Read full here]

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From OECD:

In this new report the OECD point out the way that informal institutions, such as family and kinship structures, traditions, and social norms, have largely been overlooked in the international development debate. This remarkable book reflects the views and experiences of policy makers and experts in their search to make informal institutions an instrument for achieving development objectives.

Dealing with informal institutions can be difficult in a context of weak states with poorly established governance structures. The authors here propose a pragmatic approach in which policies are adapted to local realities and conditions in order to maximise the positive impact on development. Incorporating informal institutions in development strategies will be instrumental in improving development outcomes, including achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Informal Institutions: How Social Norms Help or Hinder Development is based on the conclusions of an international seminar organised by the OECD Development Centre and the Development Assistance Committee entitled, Informal Institutions: What do we know and what can we do? held in December 2006.

The British Council currently offers two online news bulletins:

Science Insight is a monthly science news bulletin covering the latest developments and forthcoming events in science, engineering and technology in the UK.

European RTD (Research and Technological Development) Insight is a monthly online publication which provides the latest news on European Union (EU) policy; research; education, training and culture; external collaboration; events and awards; new publications and online resources.

A new report by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles indicates that a majority of asian american students are not realizing wide academic success.

The report drives from the institute freshman survey. The first-year student trends examined in this report help to address some common characterizations of Asian American students, particularly with respect to their educational success, that are often overstated and taken out of context. The examined trends do not support popular claims that Asian Americans are enjoying unprecedented, collective (or universal) academic success in U.S. higher education. The findings here suggest that Asian Americans still have to overcome a number of obstacles, such as levels of family income and financial aid, to earn a coveted spot in higher education. This report features data collected from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s (CIRP) Freshman Survey. It is based on the 361,271 Asian/Asian American first-time full-time college students from 1971-2005, representing the largest compilation and analysis of data on Asian American college students ever undertaken.

Research Brief
Official Press Release
Book Order Form

A new report by the American Council on Education (ACE ): “Framing New Terrain: Older Adults and Higher Education,” . According to the Chronicle of Higheracereport.jpg Education, the report is “a review of current research on the social and psychological factors that motivate older adults to pursue a higher education, is the first to be issued by a research project of the council, called Reinvesting in the Third Age: Older Adults and Higher Education. The project is financed by MetLife Foundation.”

The report points out that today more adults aged 55–79 change careers, go to college, start new businesses, and tackle community problems. Such shifts have significant implications for higher education. Through a two-year research project, the American Council on Education examine and report on the educational needs of this growing population of older adults.

Read full report here

Some of the report highlights are:

• Although generally better educated than previous generations, this older population has a wide span of
educational needs and desires—from earning a GED ® credential to gaining a postgraduate certificate.
• Comprehensive information on the wide range of older adult learners and their postsecondary engagement
is lacking.
• Large numbers of older adults, including minority elders, recent immigrants, displaced workers, and those
living in rural areas, are underrepresented on college and university campuses. Many of these adults do
not see postsecondary education as an option or a benefit.
• For decades, many colleges and universities have offered rich and varied programs for senior citizens,
but demands brought about by demographic shifts will soon outstrip their options, especially for career
transitions.
• Older adults with an interest in new careers also want options that quickly transition them to new opportunities.
Consequently, many want prior learning assessment, accelerated program formats, improved
career counseling, and job placement.
• While many older adults may see higher education as a way to “reinvent” themselves, they also cite the
strong desire for a sense of community.
• Structural barriers related to outreach, programming, scheduling, and transportation continue to stymie
efforts to make lifelong learning more accessible.
• Funding remains a critical issue for older adults and their access to higher education. Although those still
in the workforce may benefit from tuition reimbursement, countless others do not have necessary information,
strategies, or resources. Tuition waiver policies vary from state to state and by institution.

Shared Talk is a language exchange site with over 10,000 members speaking 78 languages. Enter Shared Talk to search for a speaking partner or talk in a chatroom. When I logged on there weren’t many people in the chatrooms, but I imagine the site is busier in the evenings. Shared Talk is nicely designed and, as far as I can tell, there’s no catch.

iLoveLanguages is a comprehensive catalog of language-related Internet resources. The more than 2400 links at iLoveLanguages have been hand-reviewed to bring you the best language links the Web has to offer. Whether you’re looking for online language lessons, translating dictionaries, native literature, translation services, software, language schools, or just a little information on a language you’ve heard about, iLoveLanguages probably has something to suit your needs.

SoZiety is a social network service designed to help people to improve languages. At this moment you may think that we are some kind of language academy, but that is not the case. What soZiety wants is you to enjoy learning, and thus you want to continue learning. Instead of taking a lot of boring lessons we propose you to learn or improve a language the natural way: speaking with other people. Okay, not with any other people, but with people sharing your same interests. Sounds good?

FriendsAbroad is an online community of millions of users in over 200 countries speaking over 80 languages. FriendsAbroad is a website for finding language penpals and making friends around the world to practice your language skills. The site contains email and text chat features that are free for users. The FriendsAbroad team states that other features may be added in the future, such as voice chats, but that they may require a fee. For now, the site is free and very easy to get started.

[From Wide Open Education] Livemocha provides some truly excellent Rosetta Stone-styled courses and shows you who else is doing this course and who is online right now. Rather than blindly seeing if someone wants to talk, you can see who’s studying what and what they already know. Pictures and profiles provide more info on the person to help break the ice. Additionally, students can upload some writing and speaking samples to receive feedback. In short, Livemocha takes the premise of the language learning community and provides content and a format where that community can really be put to work.

Scitopia is a federated search engine for the journals of 15 society publishers. The search engine is free to use, but not necessarily the articles it find. These society publishers developed a gateway to the research most cited in scholarly work and patents. Scitopia.org searches the entire electronic libraries of the leading voices in major science and technology disciplines . More than three million documents, including peer-reviewed journal content and technical conference papers, spanning 150 years of science and technology can be searched through the site.

Scitopia.org

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