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Yale ISP and University of the People Partner for Digital Education Research

The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School is expanding its research program in digital education by entering into a research partnership with University of the People (UoPeople), the world’s first tuition-free, online academic institution. Dedicated to the global advancement and democratization of higher education, UoPeople is a nonprofit organization comprised of volunteers and students from around the world. UoPeople currently offers two online programs of study: Business Administration and Computer Science.

Jack Balkin, Yale ISP Director and Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, serves on the Advisory Committee of University of the People. He said the global initiative combines two important ideas: “The first is that digital networks and social software platforms allow people to produce valuable information goods at an increasingly low cost. The second is that affordable education is a crucial ingredient for human development and human freedom. Harnessing new technologies to deliver low-cost education to people around the world is a daring venture. It is also the kind of experiment that everyone should want to succeed.”

Yale ISP Executive Director Laura DeNardis said the partnership between the Yale ISP and University of the People makes sense since the two share an interest in improving access to education around the world through new digital technologies. “Advances in social networking software, Internet access technologies, and digitization processes facilitate the education of individuals and communities in numbers that were previously unimaginable. These advancements, however, have not yet reached their potential to bring effective digital education to the world’s poorest areas—and that is something this collaboration will help change.”

The Yale ISP brings to UoPeople more than a decade of leadership in developing the principles of access to knowledge and equitable digital education, including founding the global digital education movement, Dynamic Coalition of Digital Education, formed as part of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum. A world-renowned site of learning, research, and public service, the Yale ISP is uniquely positioned to help pave the way for effective digital education innovations around the globe. Within the partnership, the Yale ISP will engage in research, advocacy, and network building to advance the marketplace of ideas supporting UoPeople’s effort to create accessible, high-quality digital education.

Shai Reshef, Founder and President of UoPeople, echoed the enthusiasm and need for this partnership: “It brings together a storied academic institution with 300 years of enriching the educational world and a fledgling university introducing a new approach to academia. I am confident that the synergy of these two organizations—united by their common goals—will allow us to make significant strides in digital education, bringing collegiate level studies to anyone who welcomes the opportunity to learn. We look forward to embarking on this joint venture with one of the top educational institutions in the world.”

About Yale ISP
The Yale ISP is an intellectual center addressing the implications of the Internet and new information technologies for law and society, guided by the values of democracy, development, and equality. Information about the Yale ISP is available at its website http://isp.law.yale.edu and blog http://yaleispblog.net.

About University of the People
Founded by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, University of the People (UoPeople; www.UoPeople.org) is the world’s first tuition-free, online academic institution. Based on the principles of e-learning and peer-to-peer teaching, coupled with open-source technology and courseware, UoPeople is designed to provide universal access to college studies, despite geographic and economic constraints. Term 2 begins November 19. Enrollment is currently open for Term 3 which begins February 4, 2010.