Open Courseware Initiative

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Open Courseware Initiative (MIT)


The MIT OpenCourseWare Inititiative's catalog:

For other initiatives see the main overview page: Open Courseware Initiatives

Status Report

Notes from the “Open Access at University - OpenCourseWare and Beyond” afternoon working group session at yesterday’s IS2K7 conference.

By Colin Rhinestone at


"Lecture notes, course readings, syllabi, and exams from more than 2,000 MIT courses from 33 majors are available on the OpenCourseWare website. The program received $3.7 million during the 2011 fiscal year — $1.5 million from MIT’s operating budget and the rest from donations, grants, and contributions from 2010." (


The experience so far, Anne Margulies of MIT, June 2, 2007:

"Once MIT started publishing the raw materials, students were not as concerned as they were in the beginning. 32% of students said that open access (OA) led favorably in their decision to go to MIT. It was the alumni who spoke the loudest, concerned about the money they spent on acquiring their degrees, now content would be free for everyone.

The OA consortium is comprised of over 150 institutions, mainly non-U.S. schools.

Intellectual property is still the biggest problem with OA at MIT. When they use third party material they can not publish it. It is not as complete as it could be.

Q: Has the OpenCourseWare project (OCW) had effect on the attendance of lectures?

A: (Anne) This was a major concern. The faculty were concerned so OCW at MIT surveyed them. The faculty had not noticed a significant drop in attendance. They are able to use their class time in a different way, because students can get the material outside the class.

The students do come with interesting questions in mind. For this reason, OCW has had a positive impact at MIT.

Q: How will this impact career building among faculty? how does it impact tenure?

A: We’re starting to bring agencies together to make peer review part of the deal.

Q: How do you generate publicity for these initiatives?

A: (Anne) We don’t do it very well. We’ve been passive about it and as a result, we’re only scratching the surface for those who can benefit from this material.

About two years ago there was a big amount of traffic from MIT to our site. Indeed MIT students used the site regularly about 70%. 40% of faculty used the OCW site to check what their colleagues were teaching and to make sure the pre-reqs were met so that their students were learning.

MIT faculty are much more aware of what other faculty are learning and they are learning best practices in informal ways. OCW at MIT has connected faculty, which in one instance helped create a new course out of two faculty members who were both interested in the same disciplines.” (

More Information

  1. The catalog of the Open Courseware Consortium is at
  2. The Curriculum Archive,
  3. Open CourseWare Finder at
  4. Open Courseware blog


Listen to Anne Margulies on Open Courseware