MIT OpenCourseWave

American University MIT has spent over a decade pioneering e-Learning on the university level.  The college began it’s transition to digital learning in 1999 and has spearheaded dozens of projects and programs that center around innovative teaching in the digital age. OpenCourseWare is the focal point of MIT’s commitment to tearing down barriers to education. The program allows anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection to access all MIT lectures, course materials and classes. The information is translated and re-dispersed by multiple partner organizations and used by both self-learners and students internationally. Further, the program helped lead the way for other organizations to create similar programs and there are now more than 60 organizations involved in the MIT OCW consortium.

“But the real payoff is OCW’s effect on educators and learners around the world. In November 2005 the site had 30,000 unique visitors a day—nearly 1 million a month. Self-learners account for 48% of those, with educators comprising 13% and students 31%. Mirror sites have translated and distributed the information around the world, especially where Internet access is limited.”

Sources: 1, 2
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4 responses to “MIT OpenCourseWave

  • tchowdh

    It’s great the way information is spreading today and how easy access has become to higher education. Programs such as MIT OpenCourseWave, Open Yale, and iTunes U are really changing the higher education landscape. Today you could be MIT or Yale educated without even ever stepping onto the campuses of these very exclusive institutions. I think this also opens up opportunities for closing the inequality gap between schools and gives students the ability to be better educated if they truly wish to be.

  • suzannahschneider

    OCW is certainly an exciting way to learn and disperse information, but I have an ominous feeling that the majority of higher education will revolve too closely around online learning. I fear that the classroom will become obsolete. Students will miss out on the ‘magical’ class environment, where they can feed off each others’ energy in discussion and debate. It will be too easy to simply hear the lecture without really listening.

    That being said, it’s thrilling that anyone around the world, especially in the developing world, can access this content.

    Also – my professor taught class today from Boston, via Skype and the help of an assistant. Pretty cool. Technology isn’t all bad, but I worry that a lot of human capacity will be lost. Though maybe I’m just being overly nostalgic.

  • jtriplet

    The most fascinating part about this project to me is the translation of the learning materials into different languages. While this certainly does not address the linguistic difficulties of local dialects or rapidly fading ancestral languages, translating the material for broader base of access is vital to the success of e-Learning programs. Rather than solely benefiting English speakers, the materials made available by MIT and other institutions can now reach a far more diverse population. Accordingly, MIT’s OCW narrows the learning and digital gaps both in the United States and abroad. The affordability is the main issue addressed by the program in the United States, since OCW opens doors to people who cannot afford to attend top notch institutions (which very few people can do these days). Abroad, OCW opens doors for non-English speakers to have similar opportunites as English speakers. By narrowing the gaps of access and readability, OCW and similar programs are a great step forward for educational equality and show the value of low cost education.

  • dreyes

    I’ve always found the most exciting aspect of OCW to be the fact that, as the name suggests, it’s essentially an open-source initiative. MIT licenses the OCW materials in a way that allows other people to adapt it into something that suits their needs. Translating it into other languages allows education professionals in other countries to easily bring their students elements of an MIT education. There’s a lot of potential in this initiative for upper-level education.

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