BBC WebWise is a well-loved brand, which began life in 1999 as an initiative to get people online. The BBC was quick to grasp the opportunities presented by digital content and keen to make sure that no-one was left behind.

The WebWise campaign spanned television and radio, with two million magazines distributed and 350 organisations using a specially commissioned CD-ROM. Supermarkets, libraries and workplaces partnered with the BBC to deliver one hour internet taster sessions to over 300,000 people.

In 2001, an accredited online course, ‘Becoming WebWise’ was introduced and made available to learning centres, allowing students to earn an IT qualification.

Since then we have seen rapid advances in technology – Wi-Fi, fast broadband, internet enabled mobile devices and the touch-screen revolution have transformed how we interact with the internet and what we do online.

WebWise has kept up with the times, updating our courses to reflect changes in technology and through initiatives like First Click, we have helped thousands of people get online and make the most of the digital opportunities available.

In 2012 the BBC became a founder member of Go On UK - a cross-sector charity with a shared vision of making the UK the most digitally capable nation in the world.

The BBC has joined forces with the other founder members - Age UK, Big Lottery Fund, EE, E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office and TalkTalk – to help equip everyone in the UK with basic online skills.

In line with this commitment, and the BBC’s media literacy strategy, WebWise has begun producing videos and written guides which can be embedded in the other websites. This means that not only Go ON UK partners, but anyone with a website in the UK can embed these films to help their audiences develop skills - helping our content reach people in new ways and in the most cost-effective manner.

A number of other organisations already provide formal assessments in the area of adult digital literacy, so rather than duplicate the work of these organisations, we have decided to refocus our efforts and our resources. Therefore, the WebWise Online Course will continue to be open to all, but the e-assessments which can count towards a Level 1 ITQ certificate will no longer be available.

Some learning centres will have plans to continue using the e-assessments so they will remain active until the end of December 2013.

We have agreed with the awarding organisations that have been using this resource that we will licence the content to them for a five year period. This means that instead of being restricted to use in a limited number of learning centres it will be possible to make the assessment questions available to more organisations.

Computer Basics and Internet Basics courses will also remain available, but cannot be maintained. This may result in some users experiencing technical problems with Flash video, as this technology dates.  

We look forward to continuing to provide tutors and students with great content across a range of topics - from getting broadband to online copyright.

Zoe Breen is Producer at BBC Learning.

  • See the first release of films on the Get Connected page on WebWise.
  • If you are an organisation interested in using the WebWise assessment questions please send your request to webwise@bbc.co.uk.
  • If you would like to embed WebWise video resources in your web pages contact webwise@bbc.co.uk to receive a guide on how to do it.

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