Open CourseWare

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The NYT on 10 years of the OCW movement:

"So, a decade in, what has it taught us?

This is not an idle question.

Open course material on the Internet may be free, but getting it there definitely isn’t. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the principal financial backer of the open educational movement, has spent more than $110 million over the past eight years, with more than $14 million going to M.I.T. The cost of re-creating the educational experience is high. Only 33 of the 1,975 courses posted by M.I.T. have videos of lectures. Another hundred or so contain multimedia material like simulations and animations. The rest is simply text: syllabuses, class notes, reading lists, problem sets, homework assignments.

Relying largely on money from Hewlett, Yale has spent $30,000 to $40,000 for each course it puts online. This includes the cost of the videographer, generating a transcript and providing what Diana E. E. Kleiner, who runs Open Yale Courses, calls “quality assurance.” By next fall, Yale will have reached its initial goal of putting up 36 courses, and has plans to add more.

Mr. Schonfeld estimates that $150 million has been spent on open education over the past decade, and more money is coming in from other sources, including $8 million contributed last year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation." (


Preferential Option for Community-Driven Production Models

Stephen Downes:

"The production of open educational resources ought to be thought of as a community process, with the distribution of these resources established through a process of sharing rather than giving or sales. When the various considerations regarding the sustainability of OERs are taken into account, as I do here then it seems clear that, unless the creation and management of OERs is community-based, the result will be a requirement for a significant overhead. When we think of OERs as something that are given, then we are inclined to channel resources to the givers, in order to sustain the giving. The givers, however, are typically those least in need of resources: it is no coincidence that the givers are large institutions such as MIT, Stanford, and Open University. But it is a misapplication of funds to channel resources to such large institutions, the entities in the value chain least in need of additional subsidy and support." (, p. 89)

More Information

  1. Open CourseWare 2.0


Find courses via: Open CourseWare Finder

Directory via Open Courseware Initiatives

  1. Open Courseware Initiative
  2. Open Courseware Consortium


  1. Anne Margulies on Open Courseware
  2. Impact Of Open Courseware On Paid Enrollment In Distance Learning Courses


  1. UNESCO. Free Access to 2,000 MIT Courses Online: A Huge Opportunity for Universities in Poor Countries. Paris, 2002.
  2. UNESCO. Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries Final report. Paris, 2002a.
  3. UNESCO. Open Educational Resources - Open content for higher education - Session 3 ? Draft discussion summary. Paris, 2005.
  4. UNESCO. Open Educational Resources - Open content for higher education - Session 2 ? Draft discussion summary. Paris, 2005a.