Introduction to Open Educational Resources/Open Courseware

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The Open CourseWare movement began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002 and has now spread to over 120 other universities worldwide. MIT first announced its Open Courseware program in 2001. The OCW provides open access to course materials for up to 1,550 MIT courses, representing 34 departments and all five MIT schools. The goal is to include materials from all MIT courses by 2008. MIT OCW's goals are to: 1) Provide free, searchable, access to MIT's course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world, and 2) Extend the reach and impact of MIT OCW and the opencourseware concept.

MIT has been so successful with its Open Courseware initiative that it now provides a How-To site for institutions wanting to launch their own Open Courseware project. Making the Case for Open Courseware is outlined by MIT on their How-To site in terms of:

  • Benefits for users and for global society
  • Benefits for the institution and its community
  • Open courseware cost components
  • Answers to common concerns

Many other Open Courseware projects are now underway: Top 100 Open Courseware Projects. As far as I know, the only community college to offer Open Courseware is Foothill College: see the SOFIA Project.

According to MIT: The open courseware concept is a part of the larger movement that promotes free and unrestricted access to knowledge. An opencourseware site provides open access to the primary teaching materials for courses taught at educational institutions, enabling educators to draw on the materials for teaching purposes, and students and self-learners to use the materials for the development of their own personal knowledge. Furthermore, MIT defines an open courseware site as:

  • Publishes course materials created by faculty (and sometimes other colleagues or students) to support teaching and learning
  • Is IP-cleared, meaning that the open courseware publisher has the rights to make the materials available under open terms and that nothing in the materials infringes the copyrights of others
  • Offers the materials free of charge for non-commercial use
  • Is universally accessible via the Web
  • Permits use, reuse, adaptation (derivative works), and redistribution of the materials by others

The Open Courseware Consortium "is a collaboration of more than 100 higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model. The mission of the OpenCourseWare Consortium is to advance education and empower people worldwide through opencourseware." According to the Open Courseware Consortium, an Open CourseWare site is a “free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses...is available for use and adaptation under an open license...does not typically provide certification or access to instructors.”

Case Studies[edit]

The detailed MIT Open Courseware Story is available for downloading as a 36 page PDF.

A project is underway in New Zealand to provide an open course repository. The goal of the New Zealand Open Educational Resources project is to increase the quality of eLearning materials, increase flexibility in their re-use and significantly reduce the duplication of investment in their design, development and production. The objectives of the NZ OER project are:

  1. To develop some 'proof of concept' courseware that is freely available to all tertiary education institutions in New Zealand.
  2. To develop a model to initiate future projects for the benefit of the education sector at a system-wide level, on the basis of a successful pilot.

OCW Sites[edit]

You can use the Open CourseWare Finder to search for OER course content from:

  • MIT OCW
  • Utah State University OCW
  • Johns Hopkins School of Public Health OCW
  • Tufts University OCW
  • Foothill De-Anza SOFIA
  • Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Other universities with open courseware include:

  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering
  • Stanford on iTune
  • Penn State

Open Course Sites[edit]

Wikiversity is an online group of educators engaged in a collaborative learning effort using wiki software, which makes collaboration easy. Take the guided tour to discover more.

HippoCampus, a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE), provides high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge.

Free University Lectures has a search function that makes it easier to find podcasts and videos of lectures in a specific discipline, however, it only includes four categories: physics, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics. The Free University Lectures blog provides up-to-date information about open courses.

Award winning podcasts from the University of Bath's public lecture series feature leading names from the worlds of science, humanities and engineering talking about the latest research in their field.

Activities[edit]

Experience[edit]

  1. Use the Open CourseWare Finder to search for Open Courseware in your teaching discipline.
  2. Listen to a lecture podcast at Stanford on iTunes, Berkeley Lectures or Yale on iTunes.
  3. Participate in the Wikiversity Colloquium.

Reflect[edit]

  1. Do you believe that your own college/university should have Open Courseware? Why or why not? (If your own college already has Open Courseware, please tell us how it is perceived by the faculty and students.)

Apply[edit]

  1. Develop a lesson plan that repurposes learning content from OCW for your own teaching.
  2. Consider adding your own course to Wikiversity. Use the tutorial provided.

Skills/Objectives[edit]

Learners will be able to:

  1. Identify sources of open courseware for use in their own teaching disciplines.
  2. Locate at lesson in an open course to modify for use in teaching.

Readings[edit]

Recommended[edit]

  • Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources (pages 40 - 55)

Supplemental Resources:[edit]

  • OLCOS Roadmap (pages 60 - 61)
  • How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education: 10 Success Stories
  • The Promise of Open Educational Resources
  • The Current State of Open Educational Resources by David Wiley, February 3, 2006
  • MIT Open Courseware Story