[EAS]MIT's OpenCourseWare

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Sat Nov 3 02:51:40 EST 2001

Subject:   MIT's OpenCourseWare

Dear Colleagues -

Further to the April announcement of MIT's bold project to put
all its courses on the Web and make them available free worldwide
<http://www.yale.edu/engineering/eng-info/msg00831.html>, I now
call your attention to this related article in the last issue
of First Monday <http://firstmonday.org/>, at

> With Massachusetts Institute of Technology's bold OpenCourseWare
> Initiative <http://web.mit.edu/ocw/>, one of the world's leading
> universities is making its teaching material accessible on the
> Internet, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world. While
> this seems counterintuitive in the trend toward commercialization
> in today's educational markets, we argue that this strategy could
> not only prove successful economically, but also exploit human
> capital resources that would foster innovation and strengthen the
> democratic foundation of a knowledge-based society.

The article, and a visit to the the <http://web.mit.edu/ocw/> are
highly recommended to all thinking about future course Web policies
and more specifically about the future of engineering education. Be
sure to note the scope of the MIT program: 
- With funding from the Mellon and Hewlett Foundations, OCW has a
search on for a permanent Executive Director. 
- A professional publishing organization will be created to produce
- The people in the OCW organization working with faculty on a
day-to-day basis will reside _within_ the departments they serve.
[Something I have advocated for university IT departments for many
- A faculty advisory board appointed by the Provost will provide
guidance and coordination to OCW.

As MIT President Charles Vest puts it "OpenCourseWare looks
counter-intuitive in a market driven world. It goes against the
grain of current material values. But it really is consistent with
what I believe is the best about MIT. It is innovative. It
expresses our belief in the way education can be advanced - by
constantly widening access to information and by inspiring others
to participate."

This is not intended as the end of classroom teaching and the
beginning of online education. It is an educational "open source"
movement that goes counter to profitable commoditization and tight
control. And it is the best way I can think of to maintain for MIT
normative prominence in engineering education.

            --Peter Kindlmann

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