The GovLab Academy: A Community and Platform for Learning and Teaching Governance Innovations

Press Release: “Today the Governance Lab (The GovLab) launches The GovLab Academy at the Open Government Partnership Annual Meeting in London.

Available at www.thegovlabacademy.org, the Academy is a free online community for those wanting to teach and learn how to solve public problems and improve lives using innovations in governance. A partnership between The GovLab  at New York University and MIT Media Lab’s Online Learning Initiative, the site launching today offers curated videos, podcasts, readings and activities designed to enable the purpose driven learner to deepen his or her practical knowledge at her own pace.

The GovLab Academy is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “The GovLab Academy addresses a growing need among policy makers at all levels – city, federal and global – to leverage advances in technology to govern differently,” says Carol Coletta, Vice President of Community and National Initiatives at the Knight Foundation.  “By connecting the latest technological innovations to a community of willing mentors, the Academy has the potential to catalyze more experimentation in a sector that badly needs it.”

Initial topics include using data to improve policymaking and cover the role of big data, urban analytics, smart disclosure and open data in governance. A second track focuses on online engagement and includes practical strategies for using crowdsourcing to solicit ideas, organize distributed work and gather data.  The site features both curated content drawn from a variety of sources and original interviews with innovators from government, civil society, the tech industry, the arts and academia talking about their work around the world implementing innovations in practice, what worked and what didn’t, to improve real people’s lives.

Beth Noveck, Founder and Director of The GovLab, describes its mission: “The Academy is an experiment in peer production where every teacher is a learner and every learner a teacher. Consistent with The GovLab’s commitment to measuring what works, we want to measure our success by the people contributing as well as consuming content. We invite everyone with ideas, stories, insights and practical wisdom to contribute to what we hope will be a thriving and diverse community for social change”.”

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