The United Nations University has launched the OpenCourseWare portal to offer free online access to training courses.
The service will initially provide open access to about a dozen courses developed in partnership with Tokyo-based UNU Media Studio.
UNU said that the idea is to make course materials available on the web free of charge to any user anywhere in the world.
The initiative is not meant to replace degree-granting higher education or for-credit courses, but to provide content that can be used by educators for curriculum development, by students to augment current learning resources, and by individuals for independent self-study.
A long-term goal of the portal is to promote the development, use and distribution of training materials under Creative Commons Licences, the university stated.
The initiative is part of the Global OpenCourseWare Consortium, a collaboration of more than 100 higher education institutions and associated organisations with a common mission of advancing education and empowering people worldwide through OpenCourseWare.
UNU rector Konrad Osterwalder said: "This signifies our commitment to broadening access to high-quality educational materials and will contribute to the UN University's core mission to further the generation and sharing of knowledge in order to strengthen individual and institutional capacities to resolve pressing global problems."
Resources available in the initial phase of the OpenCourseWare portal include:
- Six courses on electronic governance developed by the UNU International Institute for Software Technology
- Five Ph.D. training courses on the economics of technical change, innovation and development, developed by the UNU Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology
- Integrated water resources management developed by the UNU International Network on Water and Health
Several more UNU system units are currently preparing course materials for inclusion in the portal later this year.
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