OCW People's Choice Award Winner: Most Innovative and Avant-Garde

Aug 15, 2011

All three nominees in this category are constantly challenging the status quo, whether it's of the traditional college curriculum or the way people get their news. Learn about how our winner and finalists are breaking new ground in this already innovative field of education.

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Winner: FGV Online

Most Innovative Badge

One voter said it best: 'It's amazing that FGV Online makes studying with people all around the world so easy.'

FGV Online is a Portugese-language OpenCourseWare site. Though most of's readers are English speakers, we decided to nominate FGV for its contributions to the OCW cause. Its users clearly think it's pretty great, considering how many of them turned out to vote!

FGV stands for Fundação Getulio Vargas, which translates to the Getulio Vargas Foundation. It is the largest non-government distance education provider in Brazil, with 98,000 students as of 2010. The online OCW program began in 2008, and since then, their main page has received more than 7 million unique visitors, while more than 1,300,000 users have completed courses.

Those users are generally pretty pleased with FGV's approach to OCW delivery, with more than 99% reporting that they'd recommend that friends use the online service. And even though FGV is in Portuguese, its users come from all across the globe, including countries like the USA and Germany. FGV Online takes an innovative approach to OCW, with an ultimate goal of creating social change by reaching the maximum number of students.


The organizers behind realize that online learning can't really replicate all the benefits of face-to-face collaboration with peers or instructors. However, they also realize that not everyone has access to a traditional college education, so they've dedicated themselves to providing the next best alternative online and for free. When they're finished, they'll have 241 courses available to simulate an undergraduate curriculum in fields like English literature, biology and political science. Our voters praised's 'open platofrm and great course selection.' Any motivated self-learners can use these courses to supplement or take the place of the knowledge they'd gain in a 4-year degree program.

Finalist: War News Radio

For many, terrestrial radio's becoming a thing of the past. Unfortunately, some might say the same of legitimate mainstream journalism. Voter Maureen Mackey White calls War News Radio a 'very innovative idea, and provides a needed supplement to media coverage of wars around the globe.' War News Radio makes use of a popular new content delivery system - streaming Internet audio - to fill in gaps in world news reporting. It aims to present multiple perspectives on key global events. Though based out of Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College, it's broadcast on a number of traditional radio stations as well.

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