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Higher Education
Rice University
News Release
Sunday, October 02, 2011

Rice's Baraniuk wins WISE award from Qatar Foundation

Engineering professor recognized for pioneering open-education via Connexions


HOUSTON -- Rice University's Richard Baraniuk is one of six winners of a 2011 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) award presented by the Qatar Foundation. Baraniuk is the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director and founder of Connexions.


The annual WISE award recognizes "innovative educational projects from around the world." This year's theme was "Transforming Education: Investment, Innovation and Inclusion."


Baraniuk joined the Rice faculty in 1993 and six years later founded Connexions, one of the first repositories of free, open-source textbooks via the Web. Connexions is among the largest open-education platforms; it makes available more than 19,000 modules (textbooks, lessons) used by more than 2 million people each month.


Baraniuk plans to attend the WISE Summit Nov. 1-3 in Doha, Qatar, where he and the other winners will each receive a $20,000 prize. Previous award winners have included such academics as Cecilia d'Oliveira, executive director of MIT's OpenCourseWare, and nongovernmental organizations like Smallholder Farm Rural Radio in Nigeria.


The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development was founded in 1995.


Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its "unconventional wisdom." With 3,485 undergraduates and 2,275 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is less than 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to

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