Open-access academic videos receive UNESCO award

27 February 2013, a UCL-supported project to make quality academic videos available freely online, received a World Summit Award in the e-Science & Technology category last night. The awards, which form part of the United Nations Summit on the Information Society, are a global competition highlighting the best in e-content and web creativity. To commemorate the 10 years since the founding of the summit, the awards this year recognize the best initiatives over this entire period. is currently expanding through an associated foundation in London, led by UCL Computer Science professor John Shawe-Taylor.

The website is an online video library which aims to make scientific lectures given by distinguished scholars and researchers at conferences, workshops and university courses accessible to all. Based at the Center for Knowledge Transfer, Josef Stefan Institute, Slovenia, it currently holds over 16,000 open access Creative-commons licensed videos, and also serves a publication channel for research projects funded by the European Commission. Advanced technologies and support to create were provided by PASCAL, a European Network of Excellence for Pattern Analysis, Statistical Modelling and Computational Learning whose scientific coordinator is the head of UCL Computer Science, Professor John Shawe-Taylor.

Knowledge 4 all logoAs the capacity, and demand, for online learning have increased, the project has also expanded. The Knowledge 4 All Foundation Ltd. (K4A), led by Prof Shawe-Taylor, will pass on the legacy of PASCAL2 and create tools and intelligent services that will enhance the libraries’ video content. The Foundation aims to combine the latest technology in artificial intelligence with new trends in education to produce excellence in open education. It also develops innovative video journals, and supports the development of advanced technologies for VideoLectures.Net. K4A works closely with the OpenCast Community and OpenCourseWare Consortium, which both operate in the field of open source video capture systems and open educational resources, and provides intelligent solutions for these two initiatives.

John Shawe-Taylor said:

“Videolectures was a great initiative that we helped to support from the PASCAL Networks. It is fantastic to see how it has blossomed through the Jozef Stefan institute. I am really proud of what we and they have achieved and look forward to developing this site through the Knowledge 4 All Foundation. The development is very timely given the move towards the use of technology in on-line education that we are promoting through events such as the conference planned for this autumn.”

K4A will organize the first regional “Internet of Education 2013″ conference in Slovenia this year in order to explore the new and rapidly-changing global trends in higher education, and how intelligent and advanced technologies have influenced and will go on to instigate fundamental changes within traditional higher education systems around the world.

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