MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to put all of the educational materials from its undergraduate- and graduate-level courses online, partly free and openly available to anyone, anywhere. MIT OpenCourseWare is a large-scale, web-based publication of MIT course materials. The project was announced in and uses Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. The program was originally funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and MIT. Currently, MIT OpenCourseWare is supported by MIT, corporate underwriting, major gifts, and donations from site visitors. The initiative has inspired a number of other institutions to make their course materials available as open educational resources.
As of November 2011, over 2080 courses were available online. While a few of these were limited to chronological reading lists and discussion topics, a majority provided homework problems and exams (often with solutions) and lecture notes. Some courses also included interactive web demonstrations in Java, complete textbooks written by MIT professors, and streaming video lectures.
As of November 2011, 46 courses included complete video lectures, though not all of these have complete lecture notes. The videos are available in streaming mode, but may also be downloaded for viewing offline. Many video and audio files are also available from iTunes U.
The concept of MIT OpenCourseWare grew out of the MIT Council on Education Technology, which was charged by MIT provost Robert Brown in 1999 with determining how MIT should position itself in the distance learning/e-learning environment. MIT OpenCourseWare was then initiated to provide a new model for the dissemination of knowledge and collaboration among scholars around the world, and contributes to the “shared intellectual commons” in academia, which fosters collaboration across MIT and among other scholars. The project was spearheaded by professors Dick K.P Yue,
In September 2002, the MIT OpenCourseWare proof-of-concept pilot site opened to the public, offering 32 courses. In September 2003, MIT OpenCourseWare published its 500th course, including some courses with complete streaming video lectures. By September 2004, 900 MIT courses were available online. The response from MIT faculty and students has been very positive and MIT OpenCourseWare is seen as being consistent with MIT's mission (to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century) and is true to MIT's values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.
In 2005, MIT OpenCourseWare and other leading open educational resources projects formed the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which seeks to extend the reach and impact of open course materials, foster new open course materials and develop sustainable models for open course material publication.
MIT OCW was originally served by a custom content management system based on Microsoft's Microsoft Content Management Server, which was replaced in mid-2010 with a Plone-based content management system. The publishing process is described by MIT as a "large-scale digital publishing infrastructure consists of planning tools, a content management system (CMS), and the MIT OpenCourseWare content distribution infrastructure".
Video content for the courses were originally primarily in RealMedia format. In 2008, OCW transitioned to using YouTube as the primary digital video streaming platform form the site, embedding YouTube video back into the OCW site. OCW video and audio files are also provided in full for offline downloads on iTunesU and the Internet Archive. In 2011, OCW introduced an iPhone App called LectureHall in partnership with Irynsoft.
See also 
- Open educational resources
- Open textbook
- Connexions, by Rice University
- China Open Resources for Education (CORE), MIT OCW's partnership in China
- Tufts OpenCourseWare
- National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) by IITs and IISc, India
- Khan Academy
- Flat World Knowledge
- Free High School Science Texts South Africa
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- "Dick K.P. Yue". Web.mit.edu. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
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- MIT OpenCourseWare – official site; , versions
- MIT's Channel offers videos of OpenCourseWare on YouTube
- Learn for free online – BBC News, Sept 2002
- Wired: MIT Everywhere
- Opencourseware How To – designed to share the experience, key decisions, and lessons learned that led to the implementation of MIT's OpenCourseWare project.
- Open Courseware Consortium
- Wired news article