The 'Why Open Education Matters' video competition hopes to raise awareness of the way OER is transforming teaching and learning.
A decade after MIT's OpenCourseWare project kicked off the Open Educational Resources movement, it's transformed people's ability to share knowledge across the globe. Last fall, Stanford professors Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun offered their most popular class to the world for free, and Thrun went on to launch an entire open education platform. MIT launched MITx, which allows anyone to take MIT classes online and earn certificates of completion, and several universities are developing OER libraries stocked with free or low-cost digital course materials.
But despite these revolutionary examples—and the real impact they're making on people's lives—most people still don't know what the OER movement is. To help push awareness of OER into the mainstream, Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Foundations are taking advantage of the first-ever Open Education Week by launching "Why Open Education Matters," a video competition that will award cash prizes of up to $25,000 to the "best short videos that explain the use and promise of free, high-quality open educational resources and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students and schools."
The contest is open through June 5, 2012. A panel of judges—Waiting for ‘Superman’ director Davis Guggenheim, actor and filmmaker James Franco, animator Nina Paley, and yours truly—will choose the winners of the $25,000 grand prize and a $5,000 second prize. The community can vote for its favorite entry, too, with the winner receiving the $1,000 Public Choice Award. I, for one, can't wait to see the creative ways people raise awareness of OER and the way it can transform and democratize education.