1. Young-Mason, Jeanine EdD, RN, CS, FAAN

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Open Culture (OC) brings together high-quality cultural and educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community on its website Its rich and plentiful offerings will astound the first-time reader. It was founded by Dan Coleman, director and associate dean of Stanford's Continuing Education Program in 2006. You can follow OC on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.


Open Culture first came to my attention while consulting with a large urban hospital in the creation of a healing environment for patients, families, visitors, researchers, clinicians, and support staff. The Healing Environment Committee took under consideration the essential elements of a healing environment: quality of air, toxic noise and odors, aesthetics, performing and expressive arts, comfort food, plants that clean toxins from the air, and much more. However, we were dismayed by the narrow offerings on TV in the inpatient rooms. Choices were slim, and there was no discernible way to honor the most important element of any healing environment, personal choice, and autonomy. But when a patient can find diversion, entertainment, and learning experiences of his/her own choosing, the imbalance is corrected. This, of course, implies that all patients have clear access to the internet. We learned that is entirely possible. And the implications are huge. Patients do not have to listen to another's choice of TV game shows or news or movies. There is, in fact, a menu of countless choices at their command. And these choices have the real possibility of enriching their minds and lifting their spirits. And that is a healing force.


Imagine our delight when we discovered OC. Here is what we found: 1300 free online university courses, 1000 free Massive Open Online Courses and certificate courses, great lectures, 1500 free movies, 700 free audio books, 800 free ebooks, 200 free textbooks, courses in 46 languages online for free, 150 business courses, free K-12 education, free art and images, free music, writing tips by notable authors, and much more. In short, a whole world of arts and culture became available. One can join for free and receive an email everyday with intriguing thought-provoking essays or find a film noir or foreign film with subtitles, begin or continue language lessons, take a free course that enriches his/her mind and spirit, or engage others in marvelous discoveries. All this right at their fingertips and for free! Some share movies or readings with family and friends. The possibilities are endless.