Skip to content ↓

OpenCourseWare marks 5 years of educating the world

Press Inquiries

Press Contact:

Jon Paul Potts
Phone: 617-452-3621
MIT OpenCourseWare

Media Download

Benjamin Goff, a software maintenance engineer at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., is a serious weather buff. He has used OpenCourseWare to explore many of the courses in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.
Download Image
Caption: Benjamin Goff, a software maintenance engineer at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., is a serious weather buff. He has used OpenCourseWare to explore many of the courses in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.
A Nigerian engineering student, Kunle Adejumo uses OpenCourseWare to supplement his studies at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.
Download Image
Caption: A Nigerian engineering student, Kunle Adejumo uses OpenCourseWare to supplement his studies at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.
Professor Triatno Yudo Harjoko and colleagues at the University of Indonesia at Depok study OpenCourseWare offerings to try to understand how they are designed. "It's not simply the information that's valuable, but also the glimpse it offers into how MIT has structured its teaching and research to become such a prestigious institution."
Download Image
Caption: Professor Triatno Yudo Harjoko and colleagues at the University of Indonesia at Depok study OpenCourseWare offerings to try to understand how they are designed. "It's not simply the information that's valuable, but also the glimpse it offers into how MIT has structured its teaching and research to become such a prestigious institution."
A civil engineering student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Maria Karamitsou tapped OCW for help on a research project about the behavior of water. "It helped me a lot; I learned many, many things."
Download Image
Caption: A civil engineering student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Maria Karamitsou tapped OCW for help on a research project about the behavior of water. "It helped me a lot; I learned many, many things."
Roughly 3,000 sailors and civilians serve under the command of Capt. Kevin Gannon, who has used OCW to access MIT Sloan School of Management course materials. "OCW has definitely accelerated our ability to train," he said.
Download Image
Caption: Roughly 3,000 sailors and civilians serve under the command of Capt. Kevin Gannon, who has used OCW to access MIT Sloan School of Management course materials. "OCW has definitely accelerated our ability to train," he said.

*Terms of Use:

Images for download on the MIT News office website are made available to non-commercial entities, press and the general public under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license. You may not alter the images provided, other than to crop them to size. A credit line must be used when reproducing images; if one is not provided below, credit the images to "MIT."

Close
Benjamin Goff, a software maintenance engineer at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., is a serious weather buff. He has used OpenCourseWare to explore many of the courses in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.
Caption:
Benjamin Goff, a software maintenance engineer at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., is a serious weather buff. He has used OpenCourseWare to explore many of the courses in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.
A Nigerian engineering student, Kunle Adejumo uses OpenCourseWare to supplement his studies at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.
Caption:
A Nigerian engineering student, Kunle Adejumo uses OpenCourseWare to supplement his studies at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.
Professor Triatno Yudo Harjoko and colleagues at the University of Indonesia at Depok study OpenCourseWare offerings to try to understand how they are designed. "It's not simply the information that's valuable, but also the glimpse it offers into how MIT has structured its teaching and research to become such a prestigious institution."
Caption:
Professor Triatno Yudo Harjoko and colleagues at the University of Indonesia at Depok study OpenCourseWare offerings to try to understand how they are designed. "It's not simply the information that's valuable, but also the glimpse it offers into how MIT has structured its teaching and research to become such a prestigious institution."
A civil engineering student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Maria Karamitsou tapped OCW for help on a research project about the behavior of water. "It helped me a lot; I learned many, many things."
Caption:
A civil engineering student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Maria Karamitsou tapped OCW for help on a research project about the behavior of water. "It helped me a lot; I learned many, many things."
Roughly 3,000 sailors and civilians serve under the command of Capt. Kevin Gannon, who has used OCW to access MIT Sloan School of Management course materials. "OCW has definitely accelerated our ability to train," he said.
Caption:
Roughly 3,000 sailors and civilians serve under the command of Capt. Kevin Gannon, who has used OCW to access MIT Sloan School of Management course materials. "OCW has definitely accelerated our ability to train," he said.

Five years ago today, in an unprecedented step toward making knowledge accessible worldwide, MIT announced it would make the materials for nearly all of its courses available on the Internet.

Since then, MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) has flourished beyond all expectations. Educators around the world are extracting pedagogy, ideas and teaching tools from the MIT course materials -- including syllabi, course notes, assignments, problem sets and lab notes -- to fine-tune their own offerings at their home universities.

OCW now stands as a new model for disseminating knowledge, serving as a sort of "shared intellectual commons" available to educators and learners around the globe.

The accolades pour in from around the world. "Students need to know about this," says Kunle Adejumo, a student at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. "I couldn't find the information I needed [for a metallurgical engineering course], so I went to OCW."

"No one has to be lost in ignorance anymore all around the world," says Lorenzo Parini, a user from Milan, Italy.

Shen Xin, an experienced engineer in Chengdu, China, was interested in the MBA program at MIT's Sloan School of Management but did not have time to go to school. He's studying online through OCW. "I am very happy to learn the MIT OCW program and visit your web site," he says. "It is very useful."

"We're really happy about what's happening," said Harold Abelson, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who has been working with OCW since the beginning.

There are now 1,285 sets of course material available on the OCW web site at http://ocw.mit.edu. There have been nearly 20 million unique visits to MIT OCW content since Oct. 1, 2003. In February alone, there were an average of more than 36,000 visits to the site daily.

"We're getting traffic from virtually every country on earth. From a very simple but profound idea, OCW has grown into a global movement" now used daily by thousands of people worldwide, according to Jon Paul Potts, communications manager for OCW.

Visitors include educators elsewhere (17 percent), students everywhere (32 percent) and a huge audience defined as "self learners" (49 percent).

The program has won numerous awards, including the 2005 Tech Museum of Innovation Laureate, honoring the use of educational technology to solve global problems, and the Computerworld Laureate, honoring OCW as the best IT education initiative of 2004.

The impact of OCW is indeed global, with nearly 80 mirror sites of OCW installed on university campuses around the world. MIT course materials have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Thai. And, more than 50 other universities and colleges have launched their own OCW projects, offering their own course materials free, via the Internet, to anyone, in various languages. The growing list includes major universities and other learning centers in the United States, plus many more in China, Spain, Portugal, Japan, France and Vietnam.

One educator from Indonesia summed it up: "I was surprised that such a renowned university as MIT would freely give access to almost all of its educational information to the world," said Triatno Harjoko, an architecture professor at the University of Indonesia in Depok.

"Critical thinking and creativity demand the liberalization of learning and information," he said. "But I also believe that it's not simply the information that's valuable, but also the glimpse it offers into how MIT has structured its teaching and research to become such a prestigious institution."

 

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 5, 2006 (download PDF).

Related Links

Related Topics

More MIT News

Wind turbines on the top of a hill

A healthy wind

Health benefits of using wind energy instead of fossil fuels could quadruple if the most polluting power plants are selected for dialing down, new study finds.

Read full story