National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) was given an award earlier this week by the global OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) for its pioneering free Chinese-language course Web site.
According to an OCWC statement, the univeristy’s OpenCourseWare Web site, as the world’s first such site in Chinese run by a member of the consortium, stood out from more than 100 sites to win the Landmark Site Award, which was presented at the consortium’s annual conference, held on Monday in Cambridge, England.
The Web site, launched in 2007, offers 124 courses, including 102 video courses, making it an open course site with one of the highest percentages of video content, added the OCWC, a collaboration of more than 250 higher-education institutions and organizations that offer open courses using a shared model.
The total number of hits and downloads of its video courses reached 140 million in 2010, with over a third of courses on offer accessed by overseas users, the Hsinchu-based university said, citing statistics provided by Google Analytics.
Through feedback from users of the site, NCTU said it found people from a wide range of backgrounds took advantage of the open educational resources, including college students, high-school students, office workers and underprivileged individuals who dropped out of the school system.
A number of companies have even used the online courses as material for training employees, according to the university.
In 2001, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched the world’s first OpenCourseWare program, which inspired many other universities worldwide to follow suit. NCTU brought together several other local universities in 2008 to establish the Taiwan OpenCourseWare Collaboration to further enrich their educational materials.
Currently 27 colleges, including National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University and National Cheng Kung University, are members of the collaboration. Together, they offer more than 700 courses online, with 70 percent of them in video form, making Taiwan the nation offering the highest percentage of video courses, NCTU said.