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Reader's Digest recognizes Notre Dame OpenCourseWare Project

Author: Arts and Letters


The University of Notre Dame’s OpenCourseWare project, which makes the materials for Notre Dame courses available on the Web at no charge to any user in the world, has been lauded in a survey by Reader’s Digest magazine.

The publication released its fourth annual “America’s 100 Best” on Tuesday (April 10) and the full survey will appear in the April 17 edition of the magazine.

“This annual issue captures how Americans get things done — working hard, dreaming big and overcoming obstacles,” said Jackie Leo, Reader’s Digest editor-in-chief.

Notre Dame was recognized in the “Best in the Nation” grouping, in a category titled “Best Laptop Lectures.” The University, along with MIT, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Stanford and Tufts University were described as “top universities that now put material on their Web sites or produce podcasts of class lectures.”

Notre Dame’s OpenCourseWare initiative began last fall and, currently, the University’s Web site offers free access to the course materials for eight undergraduate-level courses. The offerings include courses in Africana studies, Arabic and Middle East studies, architecture, history, philosophy, peace studies and theology. Eventually, some 30 Notre Dame courses will be available on the Web.

The University’s Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning has received a two-year, $233,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support the OpenCourseWare project. The University is aligned with the OpenCourseWareConsortium, a collaboration of more than 60 institutions worldwide, including MIT and Tufts.

Reader’s Digest editors consulted both experts and the general public before testing, tasting and debating candidates for “America’s 100 Best.” The categories include the Arts, Business and Finance, Health, Food, Science and Technology, Society and Culture, Sports and Fitness, Transportation, Travel and more.

Those cited range from the remarkable, “Best Bet for Vets” (Operation Hero for Hire, Chicago), to the wacky, “Best Prehistoric Pitchman” (Auto insurer Geico’s “So Easy a Caveman Can Do It” ad campaign), to the wonderful, “Best Heavenly Bites” (Our Lady of Mississippi Abbey’s Trappistinte Creamy Caramels, Dubuque, Iowa).

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on April 12, 2007.