MIT Frees Up Learning

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-12-05 Print this article Print

MIT just got a whole lot less exclusive.

MIT celebrated a milestone Nov. 28 in its efforts to open its course content to the public--the core teaching materials, including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams from MIT's 1,800 courses, are now online and free to the public.

The site ( includes voluntary contributions from 90 percent of faculty and more than 2,600 members of the MIT community, together reaching an estimated 35 million individuals--60 percent of them from outside the United States. Nearly 600 courses have been translated into languages including Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Thai. More than 120 paper copies of the site were provided to bandwidth-constrained countries in Sub-Saharan regions.

"As a student in a developing African country, OCW is helping me to access knowledge and information I can only dream of getting; it's inspiring me to push harder and enjoy learning with the assurance that I'm getting the best," a student in Nigeria professes on the MIT site.

First announced in 2001, MIT's OCW (OpenCourseWare) started as a 50-course pilot but has grown to become a site that includes virtually every part of the MIT undergraduate and graduate curriculum, published under an open license that encourages reuse, redistribution and even modification for non-commercial purposes.

More than 160 universities from around the world have published an estimated 5,000 courses with OCW. |

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