WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Saylor Foundation today announced that more than 1.1 million visits to 21 college-level Saylor.org courses on iTunes U have generated over 290,000 subscriptions and 687,000 downloads since the Foundation launched its iTunes U page in May 2012. Enthused by this response, the Foundation will contribute additional courses each month from its catalog on Saylor.org -- currently 267 complete courses and continuing to grow.
Also, in collaboration with Google's Course Builder team, the Saylor Foundation in September launched its Mechanics I course on the Course Builder open source project platform -- the same experimental platform that drove Google's Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Power Searching with Google.
As a pre-release pioneer of the now-public platform, the Saylor Foundation team contributed to early user testing and improvements to the Course Builder project. Now, two more Saylor.org courses, Introduction to Western Political Thought and Job Search Skills, have just been released on Course Builder.
"The Saylor Foundation is proud to be redefining the online higher education space and reshaping student pathways to success," said Alana Harrington, Director of the Saylor Foundation. "Saylor.org is moving closer to its goal of making high quality education freely available to all."
Launched in 2008, Saylor.org is the free education initiative of the Saylor Foundation, established by Michael J. Saylor, founder and CEO of business intelligence firm MicroStrategy. In recent months, Saylor.org has been driving new initiatives in online education, having:
- surpassed its goal of offering 241 free, online college courses across 12 areas of study
- announced a number of low-cost college credit partnerships;
- awarded $80,000 to make four college textbooks available to the public through the Open Textbook Challenge; and
- expanded its free online course offering to include 267 courses across the Arts, Humanities, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines.
With 12 full majors' worth of no-cost courses in its stable, Saylor.org's comprehensive suite of offerings compares favorably to more recent entrants such as Coursera and Udacity, which have garnered attention for partnering with some of the nation's best known institutions of higher education.
In contrast to Saylor.org's courses, some MOOCs require access to normally closed materials, offer individual courses in a set schedule outside of a full sequence of learning, and charge modest fees for certificates.
Alternatively, Saylor.org's suite of full-length courses are oriented to a four-year college curriculum, are available any time, rely only on materials freely accessible to the student, provide multiple pathways through majors, and provide a free, electronically-verifiable certificate upon passing a rigorous final exam.
While the program at Saylor.org is unaccredited -- it can confer no degrees -- the Saylor Foundation is working to make college credit a reachable goal for students of free online courses.
Indeed, the Saylor Foundation is taking a leading role among providers of free online education by aggressively seeking out partnerships and course alignment opportunities that will connect students to inexpensive, transferable credits. Through continuing work with StraighterLine, Excelsior College, the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), and deliberate alignment with CLEP exams, 40 of Saylor.org's courses will offer pathways to credit, with savings to the student presumed in the tens of thousands of dollars.
- Release (07/18/12): Excelsior College and The Saylor Foundation Form Strategic Partnership for Pathway to Low Cost College Credit
- Release (05/09/12): StraighterLine and the Saylor Foundation Partner to Enable Students to Receive Low Cost College Credit
The Saylor Foundation (under its legal name, The Constitution Foundation), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Foundation was established in 1999 by Michael J. Saylor, the Chairman, CEO, and President of the business intelligence company MicroStrategy. Mr. Saylor serves as the Foundation's sole trustee. Since 2008, the Foundation's Free Education Initiative (www.saylor.org) has focused on using technology to drive the cost of education to zero. Saylor.org serves as a zero-cost alternative for individuals who lack the resources to attend traditional brick-and-mortar institutions and as a complement to mainstream providers. The Saylor Foundation expects free, self-paced, automated online learning opportunities to motivate people to pursue personal growth and career ambitions as well as lead to institutional change among education providers everywhere.
The Saylor Foundation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=13180
Photos accompanying this release are available at:
Source:The Saylor Foundation