Taipei, April 19 (CNA) National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) was awarded earlier this week by the global OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) for its pioneering Chinese-language free course website, the university said Thursday.
According to an OCWC statement, NCTU's OpenCourseWare site, as the world's first such site in Chinese run by a member of the OCWC, stood out from over 100 other sites to win the Landmark Site Award, which was presented at the consortium's annual conference held April 16 in Cambridge, England.
The website, 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 over 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 by Google Analytics.
Through feedback by users of the site, NCTU said it found people of various backgrounds took advantage of the open educational resources, including local 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 open courseware program, which inspired many other universities worldwide to follow suit.
NCTU brought together several other local universities in 2008 and established the Taiwan Open CourseWare 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 over 700 courses online, with 70 percent of them in video form, making Taiwan the country offering the highest percentage of open video courses, according to NCTU.
Also at this year's annual conference, Virtual University of Pakistan won the Outstanding New Site Award for a site they created last year.
The Technical Innovation Award, which honors outstanding presentation of humanities content, was given to Smarthistory.org, a free, not-for-profit, multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement, or even substitute, of the traditional art history textbook, the release said.
(By Huang Yen-yu and Kendra Lin)