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AVU Open Courses voted “Most Progressive”

The African Virtual University Open Education Resources (OER) initiative has been voted the “Most Progressive” resource in the Education-Portal.com People's Choice Awards.

This is the second time the AVU open courses have won global recognition. In 2011, the US-based Education-Portal.com recognized the AVU OERs (http://oer.avu.org) as the ''Best Emerging OCW Initiative''.

Over 20,000 people voted in this year’s competition. In the “Most Progressive Category”, the AVU received most votes against competitors such as Process Arts, an online open educational resource from the University of the Arts London, and Open Badges, a Mozilla project designed to help individuals gain recognition for accomplishments gained outside of a traditional degree program.

The AVU was commended for “bringing together educational resources from across Africa into a single, unified group without sacrificing the diversity of the people benefiting from the site”.

The AVU Rector, Dr. Bakary Diallo, said: “This Award shows that Africa is moving from a development model that pulls resources from the international community to one that gives relevant content that is contributing to the international dialogue on education. It demonstrates the increasing global recognition of our commitment to increase access to quality education through free educational resources.”

Dr. Diallo added: “eLearning provides an alternative platform to quality education which will enable Africa meeting the challenge of increasing enrollment in tertiary institutions”.

AVU's OER is supported by the African Development Bank and hosts 219 open educational modules divided into several topics - textbooks in math and science, teacher education, basic ICT (information and communication technology) skills and four in ICT classroom integration – all of which are freely available in English, French and Portuguese. The resources are also accessible on Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/AfricanVirtualUni, making them available to a wider global network of scholars.

According to Education-Portal.com, voters lauded AVU for producing the resources in the three languages, helping “the most needed region of the world to move forward.”  Voters considered AVU “a critical resource” with “original and very interesting content”.

The OERs portal attracted more than 1,000,000 users from 193 countries between January 2011 and June 2012 which means that through AVU, Africa is contributing to global knowledge and is therefore not only a consumer of content from the 'North'.

AVU is currently improving the existing collection, developing new resources in computer science, and making the [email protected] portal more interactive and appealing to users.

The Education-Portal.com People's Choice Awards are designed to increase awareness of these free educational resources and celebrate the efforts of those behind them. All the nominees offer free educational resources online, making it easier for lifelong learners around the globe to further their education and career aspirations.

Other winners of the Award include: American Museum of Natural History, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare, Open Michigan of the University of Michigan, Students Circle Network, among others.

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