March 2, 2012

SUNY Empire State College Celebrates First-Ever Open Education Week March 5-9

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 2, 2012)  SUNY Empire State College will participate in Open Education Week on Wednesday, March 7 through "O.P.E.N.: Open Projects Engaging New York, an event hosted by the college’s School for Graduate Studies, at college locations across the state, 2-4 p.m., and will webcast live via the Internet.

Access to the webcast, which will begin just prior to 2 p.m., will be available here.

March 5-9, 2012 marks the first ever open education week and is organized by the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

“Empire State College functions as New York’s “open university,”” said college President Alan R. Davis. “For more than 40 years, the college has been an innovator in teaching and learning and is actively engaged in expanding access to education resources here in New York state and around the world. This event will further discussion on open-education resources (OER), showcase our endeavors and provide opportunities for further collaboration on open-education projects.”

The keynote speaker for the event will be Carla Casilli, project lead for Open Badges at the Mozilla Foundation, an initiative supported by the MacArthur Foundation. Open Badges enables individuals to get recognition for skills and achievement gained outside of school.

“The School for Graduate Studies has been discussing ways in which a graduate school in an open university should function, and we welcome the opportunity to share some of the work we have been doing,” says Robert Clougherty, dean of the School for Graduate Studies.

There will be presentations on two current graduate school open projects:  the Virtual Teaching Incubator, including work on incubators, open educational resources and Badges; and the Virtual Business Incubator, incubation and OER.

SUNY Empire State College is a founding partner in the Open Education Resource university and a member of the Open Education Resource Foundation.

The OER university aims to provide free learning to all students worldwide using OER learning materials with pathways to gain credible qualifications from recognized education institutions. It is rooted in the college's community-service and outreach mission to develop a parallel learning universe to augment and add value to traditional delivery systems in post-secondary education. Through the community-service mission of participating institutions the OERu will open pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit.

In addition, engaging with open learning and OER, the college recognizes that many of its students -- undergraduates who average 36 years of age and graduates average age 40 -- attend multiple institutions as they work to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree and have learned a great deal through work and life experience.

The college is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the evaluation of learning gained through work and life experience and the awarding of college credit for college-level learning.

Furthermore, the college is open to transfer by community college students and has Pathways Transfer Program agreements with 33 of the 36 SUNY and CUNY community colleges.

In addition to the transfer-friendly policy and awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. 

Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace of their choosing.

The capability to package a bachelor's degree based on student goals and intent, like guided independent study with a faculty mentor, is a hallmark of the college.

About Open Education Week

Open Education Week is taking place online and in locally hosted events around the world. The purpose of Open Education Week is to raise awareness of the open-education movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Participation in all events and use of all resources is free and open to anyone.

About Open Badges

The Web and other new learning spaces provide exciting ways to gain skills and experience -- from online courses, learning networks and mentorship to peer learning, volunteering and after-school programs. Open Badges provides a way for learners to get recognition for these skills, and display them to potential employers, schools, colleagues and their community

Using Mozilla’s Open Badges' infrastructure, any organization or community can issue badges backed by its own seal of approval. Learners then collect badges from different sources and display them across the Web -- on their resume, website, social-networking profiles, job sites or just about anywhere. By displaying skills and achievements that traditional degrees and transcripts often leave out, Open Badges can lead to jobs, community recognition, and new learning opportunities.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

For additional information, visit www.esc.edu.

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