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MIT OpenCourseWare celebrates 15 years of open sharing

Milestone reached as a pioneer in the open educational resources movement.
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In 15 years, over 200 million people around the world have used MIT OpenCourseWare.
In 15 years, over 200 million people around the world have used MIT OpenCourseWare.
Photo: Yvonne Ng/Office of Digital Learning

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is celebrating 15 years of free and open publishing of MIT course materials. First proposed by the MIT faculty in 2001, OCW now provides access to the educational materials of more than 2,300 MIT courses, reflecting the teaching in all five MIT schools and 33 academic units. OCW’s 15th anniversary is sponsored by its technology provider, SapientNitro.

Over 200 million people around the world have used OCW. Because OCW is Creative Commons-licensed, anyone can download and save OCW content, adapt and remix it to meet their needs, and share freely with their friends and colleagues. With website traffic exceeding 2 million visits every month and still growing, OCW is firmly established as a trusted resource for teachers and learners everywhere. 

During these last 15 years, OCW has been a major driver in the open educational resources (OER) movement. First announced in April 2001, OCW began with a “proof-of-concept” website offering 50 courses. In 2005, having published over 1,000 MIT courses, OCW helped launch the OpenCourseWare Consortium. Now called the Open Education Consortium, its nearly 300 higher education institutions and related organizations have freely shared many thousands of courses, open textbooks and other resources, and collaborated to foster widespread adoption of OERs.

OCW is a cornerstone of MIT’s ongoing commitment to open, worldwide education. Publishing over 120 courses each year, and continually adding more video and new interactive features, OCW continues to share MIT's latest teaching with the world. Enhancements such as Highlights for High School (resources for high school teachers and students), OCW Scholar, and OCW Educator extend the value of OCW for key communities. With its curriculum-spanning scope and "always available, always free" materials, OCW is an essential component of digital learning at MIT, complementing other initiatives such as MITx on edX’s massive online open courses, MIT PK12 (MIT hands-on/minds-on tools and resources for pre-K through grade-12 students and teachers), and fee-based professional education.

OCW has also been sustained by the generous support of MIT itself, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ab Initio Corporation, MathWorks, Telmex, Dow, Lockheed Martin, Accenture, thousands of individual donors, and other foundations and corporate sponsors. 

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