MIT to Make Nearly All Course Materials Available Free on the World Wide Web

Unprecedented Step Challenges 'Privatization of Knowledge'



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Massachusetts Institute of
 Technology -- in an unprecedented step in world-wide education -- announced
 today it plans to make the materials for nearly all its courses freely
 available on the Internet over the next ten years.
     The website for the project -- MIT OpenCourseWare -- would include
 material such as lecture notes, course outlines, reading lists, and
 assignments for each course. Over the next decade, the project expects to
 provide materials for over 2,000 courses across MIT's entire curriculum -- in
 architecture and planning, engineering, humanities, arts, social sciences,
 management, and science.
     MIT President Charles M. Vest said of the program:  "MIT OpenCourseWare is
 a bold move that will change the way the Web is used in higher education.
 With the content posted for all to use, it will provide an extraordinary
 resource, free of charge, which others can adapt to their own needs.  We see
 it as source material that will support education worldwide, including
 innovations in the process of teaching and learning itself."
     Professor Steven Lerman, chair of the MIT faculty, said that the project
 stemmed both from enthusiasm for the opportunities that the Internet affords
 for wide-spread sharing of educational ideas, and from concern over the
 growing "privatization of knowledge".  He noted that many universities,
 including MIT, see the Internet as a means of delivering revenue-generating
 distance education.
     But, he said, "we also need to take advantage of the tremendous power of
 the Internet to build on the tradition at MIT and in American higher education
 of open dissemination of educational materials and innovations in teaching."
     The project would begin as a large-scale pilot program over the next two
 years, starting with the design of the software and services needed to support
 such a large endeavor, as well as protocols to monitor and assess its
 utilization by faculty and students at MIT and throughout the world.  By the
 end of the two-year period, it is expected that materials for more than 500
 courses would be available on the MIT OCW site.
     MIT sees a variety of benefits coming from the MIT OpenCourseWare project:
 
     * Institutions around the world could make direct use of the MIT OCW
       materials as reference and sources for curriculum development.  These
       materials might be of particular value in
 
     * developing countries that are trying to expand their higher education
       systems rapidly.
 
     * Individual learners could draw upon the materials for self-study or
       supplementary use.
 
     * The MIT OCW infrastructure could serve as a model for other institutions
       that choose to make similar content open and available.
 
     * Over time, if other universities adopt this model, a vast collection of
       educational resources will develop and facilitate widespread exchange of
       ideas about innovative ways to use those resources in teaching and
       learning.
 
     * MIT OCW will serve as a common repository of information and channel of
       intellectual activity that can stimulate educational innovation and
       cross-disciplinary educational ventures.
 
     The program will continue the tradition of MIT's leadership in educational
 innovation, as exemplified by the engineering science revolution in the 1960s.
 At that time, MIT engineering faculty radically revised their curricula and
 produced new textbooks that brought the tools of modern science, mathematics,
 and computing into the core of the engineering curriculum.  As their students
 joined the engineering faculties of universities throughout the country, they
 took with them their own course notes from MIT, and spread the new approach to
 engineering education.
     In similar spirit, but with new technologies, MIT OpenCourseWare will make
 it possible to quickly disseminate new knowledge and educational content in a
 wide range of fields.   President Vest commented that the idea of
 OpenCourseWare is particularly appropriate for a research university such as
 MIT, where ideas and information move quickly from the laboratory into the
 educational program, even before they are published in textbooks.
     MIT believes that implementation of OCW will complement and stimulate
 innovation in ways that may not even be envisioned at this point.  "We expect
 that MIT OCW will raise the tide of educational innovation within MIT and
 elsewhere," said MIT Provost Robert A. Brown.  "By making up-to-date
 educational content widely available," he said, "OCW will focus faculty
 efforts on teaching and learning on their campuses.  It also will facilitate a
 new style of national and global collaboration in education through the
 sharing of educational content and the potential of telecommunications for
 real-time interactions."
    The concept of MIT OpenCourseWare was born from deliberations of a study
 group chartered by MIT's Council on Educational Technology.  The Council, a
 group of educational leaders from throughout MIT, asked the study group to
 consider ways to use Internet technology to enhance education within MIT as
 well as MIT's influence on education on a global scale.  The group was
 composed of faculty and staff from MIT, and was assisted by consultants from
 Booz-Allen & Hamilton, who are helping with organizational aspects of the
 project.
     The Booz-Allen team was led by BAH Vice President Reginald Van Lee.  Mr.
 Van Lee, an MIT alumnus, said "MIT continues its role as the preeminent,
 global leader in the development and dissemination of new ideas and knowledge.
 We are excited to have contributed to this innovative and important step in
 the advancement of higher education."
     More details available at http://web.mit.edu/news/
 
 

SOURCE Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Massachusetts Institute of
 Technology -- in an unprecedented step in world-wide education -- announced
 today it plans to make the materials for nearly all its courses freely
 available on the Internet over the next ten years.
     The website for the project -- MIT OpenCourseWare -- would include
 material such as lecture notes, course outlines, reading lists, and
 assignments for each course. Over the next decade, the project expects to
 provide materials for over 2,000 courses across MIT's entire curriculum -- in
 architecture and planning, engineering, humanities, arts, social sciences,
 management, and science.
     MIT President Charles M. Vest said of the program:  "MIT OpenCourseWare is
 a bold move that will change the way the Web is used in higher education.
 With the content posted for all to use, it will provide an extraordinary
 resource, free of charge, which others can adapt to their own needs.  We see
 it as source material that will support education worldwide, including
 innovations in the process of teaching and learning itself."
     Professor Steven Lerman, chair of the MIT faculty, said that the project
 stemmed both from enthusiasm for the opportunities that the Internet affords
 for wide-spread sharing of educational ideas, and from concern over the
 growing "privatization of knowledge".  He noted that many universities,
 including MIT, see the Internet as a means of delivering revenue-generating
 distance education.
     But, he said, "we also need to take advantage of the tremendous power of
 the Internet to build on the tradition at MIT and in American higher education
 of open dissemination of educational materials and innovations in teaching."
     The project would begin as a large-scale pilot program over the next two
 years, starting with the design of the software and services needed to support
 such a large endeavor, as well as protocols to monitor and assess its
 utilization by faculty and students at MIT and throughout the world.  By the
 end of the two-year period, it is expected that materials for more than 500
 courses would be available on the MIT OCW site.
     MIT sees a variety of benefits coming from the MIT OpenCourseWare project:
 
     * Institutions around the world could make direct use of the MIT OCW
       materials as reference and sources for curriculum development.  These
       materials might be of particular value in
 
     * developing countries that are trying to expand their higher education
       systems rapidly.
 
     * Individual learners could draw upon the materials for self-study or
       supplementary use.
 
     * The MIT OCW infrastructure could serve as a model for other institutions
       that choose to make similar content open and available.
 
     * Over time, if other universities adopt this model, a vast collection of
       educational resources will develop and facilitate widespread exchange of
       ideas about innovative ways to use those resources in teaching and
       learning.
 
     * MIT OCW will serve as a common repository of information and channel of
       intellectual activity that can stimulate educational innovation and
       cross-disciplinary educational ventures.
 
     The program will continue the tradition of MIT's leadership in educational
 innovation, as exemplified by the engineering science revolution in the 1960s.
 At that time, MIT engineering faculty radically revised their curricula and
 produced new textbooks that brought the tools of modern science, mathematics,
 and computing into the core of the engineering curriculum.  As their students
 joined the engineering faculties of universities throughout the country, they
 took with them their own course notes from MIT, and spread the new approach to
 engineering education.
     In similar spirit, but with new technologies, MIT OpenCourseWare will make
 it possible to quickly disseminate new knowledge and educational content in a
 wide range of fields.   President Vest commented that the idea of
 OpenCourseWare is particularly appropriate for a research university such as
 MIT, where ideas and information move quickly from the laboratory into the
 educational program, even before they are published in textbooks.
     MIT believes that implementation of OCW will complement and stimulate
 innovation in ways that may not even be envisioned at this point.  "We expect
 that MIT OCW will raise the tide of educational innovation within MIT and
 elsewhere," said MIT Provost Robert A. Brown.  "By making up-to-date
 educational content widely available," he said, "OCW will focus faculty
 efforts on teaching and learning on their campuses.  It also will facilitate a
 new style of national and global collaboration in education through the
 sharing of educational content and the potential of telecommunications for
 real-time interactions."
    The concept of MIT OpenCourseWare was born from deliberations of a study
 group chartered by MIT's Council on Educational Technology.  The Council, a
 group of educational leaders from throughout MIT, asked the study group to
 consider ways to use Internet technology to enhance education within MIT as
 well as MIT's influence on education on a global scale.  The group was
 composed of faculty and staff from MIT, and was assisted by consultants from
 Booz-Allen & Hamilton, who are helping with organizational aspects of the
 project.
     The Booz-Allen team was led by BAH Vice President Reginald Van Lee.  Mr.
 Van Lee, an MIT alumnus, said "MIT continues its role as the preeminent,
 global leader in the development and dissemination of new ideas and knowledge.
 We are excited to have contributed to this innovative and important step in
 the advancement of higher education."
     More details available at http://web.mit.edu/news/
 
 SOURCE  Massachusetts Institute of Technology