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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Feds to Launch Online Skills Academy

The Second Open Government National Action Plan, released last fall, spells out ways the government plans to improve public services. Part of the plan calls for a commitment to expanding the use of open educational resources (OER), a pledge that was reaffirmed during Open Education Week 2015, according to a report in Campus Technology.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that the use of open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including accelerating student comprehension and by fostering more opportunities for affordable cross-border and cross-cultural educational experiences,” wrote the authors of the plan.

The plan includes an online skills academy that will offer open online courses to create high-quality but free or low-cost ways for students to earn degrees, certificates, or other employer-recognized credentials. The Departments of Labor (DOL) and Education (ED) will provide around $25 million in competitive grants to launch the academy this year.

Courses offered by the skills academy will be free and available on an open learning platform, while credits would be made available at low costs. The academy will also use OER for course materials, including content developed through a DOL community college grant program.

In addition, the State Department plans to conduct overseas pilots using OER to support learning. The results of those pilots will be made available to the public and to interested educators.

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